Signal Mountain Required To Open Ball Fields By Schools To Other Users; Town To Enforce Vicious Dog Ordinance After Fatal Attack

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - by Gail Perry

The recreational areas surrounding Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary need to open up as a park so all can use. Town Manager Boyd Veal told the council that is because a requirement of the state grant that Hamilton County used when developing the sports facilities that are located there. The school buildings are exempt.


Now decisions must be made about how the sports fields will be maintained and managed.

Currently, school boosters provide most of the maintenance at their expense. Push back is expected when teams other than those of the school use them.


Mr. Veal brought a proposal to the council at their meeting Monday night that would be for the town to do maintenance and schedule games for all users including schools and leagues. The amount now being generated by the leagues could cover the cost of a town employee who would be in charge of the new plan, he said. If not being used otherwise, the town would also be able to use the fields for tournaments and benefit from the proceeds. The schools would have priority and would give approval to the schedules.


In this proposal, in addition to scheduling, the town would also maintain the three fields, the concession area and the rest rooms. Hamilton County would be responsible for large projects. Mr. Veal said the town would have more control because it would have the interest in making it all work. Initially, Special Projects Manager Sam Guin would be in charge of managing, but there is enough work that the position could become a new job for a full-time employee.


A meeting involving all entities involved, the Signal Mountain Council, Hamilton County Commission and the School Board will be planned. The council would also like to include school boosters so they will be involved since they are considered an integral part of the way sports are handled on Signal Mountain.


A water interconnection with Walden’s Ridge Utility District for emergency situations involving the water supply on the mountain was also under discussion. At the last council meeting approval was given for the town to move forward with installing a six-inch pipe that will join WRUD’s system so water could be supplied to either city in a reciprocal relationship in the event of an emergency. An interested resident who has researched the proposal said that a six-inch pipe could not provide enough water to supply all homes in the town and that a 12-inch pipe should be used, but the cost would be much more. Of special concern is the amount of water needed for fire protection.


The town manager has been talking to WRUD officials. He said, if needed, that larger pipe could be added later. Walden, however, is still asking questions to determine how the whole project would help their town whose elevation is greater than Signal Mountain’s. It would require pumps to push the water to homes there. A special meeting will be planned with the Signal Mountain Water Board and Walden to talk about the options.


With revitalization of the MACC nearly complete, Mr. Veal introduced discussions with the council for altering and detailing the town’s interactions with the facility. This would involve the fee structure, how teachers are paid and how registration is handled. He plans to ask the MACC board for specific suggestions and will bring options to the council at the next meeting.


A resident appeared before the board asking for a revision to the town’s vicious dog ordinance. After an encounter involving her puppy and an off-leash neighborhood dog in which the puppy did not survive, she said that she had found the current ordinance is confusing and not well organized. After the confrontation took place, it was discovered that there had been prior incidents involving the same dog, but complaints had gone to the Humane Society and the town was not aware of them. Town Manager Veal said after any report of a vicious dog attack the town will require that owners keep it confined at all times. They will have to be registered with the town, give proof of liability coverage and post a vicious dog notice on the house. The owner will have seven days to appeal the decision.


Revisions to the town’s beer ordinance were given final approval Monday night. Some restrictions were removed that will allow small businesses to sell beer. It will also now allow the sale of beer on city-owned properties such as at “Hodgepodge,” or for fundraisers.


Another major stabilization will be done on a Signal Mountain road by the state, said Mr. Veal. This time work will be done along Palisades Road behind the space house where retaining walls will be built. The city has water lines underground in that location and, because the town owns the water system, it will be responsible for moving the lines before stabilization work starts. This project is scheduled to begin in April 2020.


The Signal Mountain stormwater department has identified an area of significant bank erosion along a tributary of Shoal Creek adjacent to the cul-de-sac of Fern Trail. Some work was done there last year but it was not sufficient to solve the problem. Santec Consulting Services was approved to assess the site and engineer an appropriate solution for an amount not to exceed $18,400.


Approval was also given for the police department to accept a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for $15,000. A new speed trailer will be bought with $5,000 from the award and $10,000 will be dedicated to use for police overtime to enforce speeding, aggressive driving, DUI and seat belt use for children and passengers.


Melissa Hartmann was appointed to be the newest member of the Signal Mountain Design Review Commission. Her term will expire on Dec. 31, 2020.


Two resolutions were passed in recognition of Arbor Day. The first dedicates Friday, Oct. 18, as Arbor Day within the town. During the centennial celebration of Signal Mountain, residents invited the tree board to measure their old trees. Anne Hagood told the council it was discovered that the town has hundreds, if not thousands, of trees over 100 years old. Two found are estimated to be 282 years old. A white oak on private property and a tulip poplar that is on public property near the intersection of Ridgeway Avenue and Mississippi Ave. were designated to be a “Landmark Tree.”






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