Lookout Mountain, Ga. Moves Forward On Town Center Development

Friday, February 14, 2020 - by Gail Perry

The Town Center development in Lookout Mountain, Ga. is moving forward with the release date of the Request for Proposal planned for Monday. Copies of the document will be available at the temporary offices of town hall in the Methodist Church. Design Guidelines have been passed by the planning committee with the recommendation to the council for approval.

Mayor David Bennett said the town is still in the process of applying for a USDA loan and no work can be started until final approval of the loan. The mayor said it is possible for demolition to start sometime in mid-April. 

Decisions are made every six years of how the Special Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax will be distributed. This year, the four towns in Walker County will divide the first 20 percent of the revenue from the tax. That money will be allocated toward downtown development for each of the towns. Lookout Mountain, Ga. will get $1.76 million over a six-year period that will be used for development of the Town Center. 

The remaining 80 percent of the SPLOST will be divided with the county receiving 75 percent and 25 percent will go to the four towns, based on population. Lookout Mountain, Ga. will receive 2.48 percent of that designated for the towns. That will bring in around $860,000 over the same six-year period. The money will be used for other capital outlay projects, such as a fire engine, police cars or for the sewer pump station improvements. 

Mayor Bennett expressed appreciation to Commissioner Shannon Whitfield and the mayors of the other four towns for their spirit of cooperation. 

Community volunteer Jimmy Campbell, who is heading development of the town’s new comprehensive plan, told the council that in a couple of weeks a series of public hearings will be scheduled. Discussion of plans for the new system of trails that eventually will connect the town will be included in these meetings. 

Statistics from the fire and police department for the month of January reflect the effort to stop the rash of car break-ins that are occurring in Lookout Mountain, Ga. and in municipalities all around the Chattanooga area, said Chief Todd Gann. There were 11 thefts in January, all from unlocked cars. During the month, Lookout Mountain, Ga. officers patrolled 4,960 miles including over 100 miles every night. The department has had assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol and Walker County Sheriff’s Department, all of which are also patrolling the mountain. There were 41 traffic stops, 20 suspicious vehicles, four suspicious persons investigated, 18 citations and 25 traffic warnings given and one auto accident. During the month there were nine burglar alarms checked, four fire calls and nine medical calls. Assistance was provided to 11 citizens, to six motorists and to the Lookout Mountain, Tn. police 12 times. 

Chief Gann thanked the council for new equipment for the police department including thermal imaging cameras that use heat to detect things such as people in the dark and fires that could be inside walls. New tasers have also been purchased for the officers. 

The best thing that a resident can do is to call 911, said the chief, if they see anything that looks suspicious. And please remove all valuables from parked cars and lock them, he said. The thieves look for vehicles that are unlocked and if locked, they move on, he said. If available, he asks also for residents to leave on security lights. 

Winter break at Fairyland Elementary School is Monday and Tuesday. There are two upcoming events at the school. A community art show show will be held on March 3 and the Missoula Children’s Theater’s annual visit to the school will be the week of March 9-14. From Monday through Friday, the theatrical group will guide the children to create sets and cast actors who will learn their lines during that time. There will be performances of the play they produce during that week on Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. 

The sewer board has been operating in the black with very little trouble in recent months, said Wes Hasden who heads up the board. He said a grant application is being worked on, for assistance in building a new pumping station. 

City Manager Brad Haven said he had received multiple calls from residents to inform about stopped up drains caused by debris washing into them due to the recent heavy rain. The public works employees have been working to clear them, he said. 

A privilege license was approved for Francesca and Lucy Rearinger, who will operate an internet boutique business from their house. Town Attorney Bill Pickering told them the town’s ordinances would not allow any signs or customers coming and going and no inventory can be stored at the location.

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