At the last Lookout Mountain, Ga. council meeting of 2018, Mayor David Bennett gave an overview of where the city is now and what is expected in 2019. A comprehensive plan to guide the town’s future development over the next 15-20 years is being created with input from 600 citizens who responded to an online survey.
A grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation has enabled a study for the creation of a system of trails and pathways through the community that will eventually connect to Cloudland Canyon.
The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute composed of graduate students is already in the process of creating the plan, which will be incorporated into the comprehensive plan once it has been established.
The town is doing well financially, said the mayor, due to wise decisions that have been made over the last five years. Final plans for the new Town Center, which has been worked on for about 10 years, will be unveiled at a community wide meeting in February. It is planned to break ground by December 2019, which Mayor Bennett said is fitting, since 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lookout Mountain, Ga. He said that the Town Center is one of the most important investments the town will make in the community for the next 50 years.
Fairyland School was applauded by the mayor for its achievements and recognition of excellence. He said that the school is ranked in the top five percent of all 2,100 elementary schools in the state of Georgia. The teachers, too, have been rated in the top five percent of elementary teachers in the state, and in the top 15 percent of elementary school teachers nationally, with 95 percent of them having a master’s degree. Part of the success of the school was attributed to the PTO which raises $150,000 each year to enhance the school with special programs and keep classes small. One such project is an aquaponics facility that is nearly complete. It will provide exceptional learning experiences for the students, said the mayor, and is one of the only like it in the country. All citizens in the town have a vested interested in the school, he said.
This year there have been 872 participants in the joint recreation leagues of the towns of Lookout Mountain, Ga. and Tn. combined. Baseball had 200 participants. soccer had 400, flag football had 65, basketball had 190 and wrestling had 17.
The NICHE Organization, which ranks cities and schools across the country, has placed Lookout Mountain, Ga. as the seventh best city for raising a family in Georgia and ranked it the 15th safest place in the state. And over the last three years, property values in the town have increased roughly 38-40 percent.
“We couldn’t make all the good things happen in the community without the dedicated employees and 60 volunteers that serve in a variety of ways,” said the mayor. At the annual Christmas party, Kenny Lee, who has worked on the trails and pathways committee, the comprehensive plan and who is the town’s liaison with Covenant College, was named volunteer of the year.
City Manager Brad Haven gave the annual stormwater presentation and talked of creating rain gardens as a clean and safe way to mitigate runoff.
Council member Taylor Watson said that radio fees for communications of the police and fire departments will increase next year from $112 per radio per month to $120. She said the added expense will need to be included in the budget.
The new development of Brow Wood Cottages, which is a separate development but adjacent to the current Brow Wood development, is seeking an agreement to join the town’s sewer system. City Attorney Bill Pickering noted several conditions that will be required, and said that the homeowners association, which is in the process of being formed, must be a valid entity before the town can sign the agreement.
The council voted to adopt the state of Georgia’s minimum standard building codes which last were updated in 2012. The ordinance will be amended as 2018 versions of each section of the code are reviewed by the state and approved.
The police and fire departments of Lookout Mountain Ga., and Tn., work together. The council approved a renewed mutual aid agreement between the two towns.