Lookout Mountain, Ga. police will be enforcing posted speed limits. During the past year police were not stopping cars unless absolutely necessary, to reduce the officers’ exposure to the Coronavirus. Now that the virus is getting under control, said Councilmember Taylor Watson, there will be no more grace periods.
Speed limits will be strictly enforced and no warnings will be given. Mayor David Bennett has sent an email to residents informing of the reduction of the speed limit from 25 to 20 m.p.h. along Lula Lake Road from the state line to the stop sign at Wood Nymph Trail.
The city continues to get complaints from residents on Hardy Road about two issues—failure to respect stop signs and speeding. Children are not allowed to play in front yards on that street because of the speeding vehicles. In the attempt to slow cars down a couple of years ago, stop signs were placed along the road, but drivers routinely roll through them without slowing. Ideas for how to slow traffic were discussed at the April council meeting. They included replacing the stop signs with speed humps, making Hardy one way during certain times of the day, or for the police to buy hand-held radar guns. The city will have to find a solution so that cars do not just move over to the next street. Homeowners on Hardy backed the plan to add the speed humps, but the council decided to try having police write tickets first. It is hoped that speeding can be ended with more enforcement.
The city will be acquiring a new fire truck. The turnaround time from ordering to delivery of the vehicle is 360 days. It will be ordered this year and delivered next year, after the new Town Center is built. The towns of Lookout Mountain, Ga. and Tn. are different cities and in different states, said City Manager Kenny Lee, but they are one community. The fire departments have a mutual aid agreement and have been conducting training sessions together to familiarize themselves with their counterparts.
Councilmember Watson gave statistics from the fire and police departments that were compiled by Chief Todd Gann for the month of March. They show 3,900 miles were patrolled, 37 traffic stops were made, 21 citations were written and 18 warnings were given. There were two automobile accidents and five burglar alarms, and no burglaries or thefts. Police checked five suspicious persons and four suspicious vehicles. Assistance was given to the Lookout Mountain, Tn. police seven times during March, and officers assisted citizens 20 times and motorists nine times. Response was made to five fire calls and four medical calls in March.
Councilmember Caroline Williams, liaison with Fairyland School, said plans are being made for fundraisers next year. Music on the Mountain will take place and Quarter Boards for a Cause has been planned for May 6. Proceeds from that event will be split between both schools on the mountain. Surprisingly, she said that standardized testing will be done this year. Fifth grade graduation will also take place in person this year, outside on the field with limited attendance. She also thanked the school for letting the gym be used this winter which allowed the rec teams to have a basketball season.
The public works department has been busy paving and clearing out culverts, said Councilmember Kevin Leckenby. Work that the gas company is doing to replace old gas lines along Lula Lake Road is continuing and taking longer than planned because they keep hitting rock that has to be bored through. The expectation is that Lula Lake will be finished by April 21 and then the work will move to secondary streets beginning with Oberon Trail. An email has been sent to residents about the city’s policies concerning debris and trash.
Because Lookout Mountain, Ga. will no longer share the recycling facilities and monthly dumpster with Lookout Mountain, Tn., a new plan has to be created for Georgia. As the first step, a dumpster will be placed at the city’s public works area located on the south end of Lula Lake Road on May 1. A plan for expansion into recycling will be developed by Councilmember Leckenby and Lulu Brock.
Councilmember Tony Towns is heading up the new stormwater committee and he told the council that he could not say enough good things about the group. They now have access to the GIS system which will help to determine who owns what and is responsible for the issues. The city does not do remediation on personal property, said City Manager Lee. Using the GIS maps, the city will plan how to renovate the stormwater and storm sewer system throughout the city. The new stormwater committee will prioritize issues that need immediate attention and make a master plan for the next 10 years. For now, said the councilman, some quick fixes are possible without great expense.
Another committee has been formed that is being referred to as “The MAD Team,” with former Mayor Tony Gifford, Catherine Kelly and Rebecca Hughes. The committee is working on ways to improve aesthetics in the city. There are ordinances already in place and the city will begin by enforcing them in order to maintain high standards which will keep property values up. It is a good time to do this, with the new Town Center under development, said Mr. Gifford. The most egregious violations will be taken on first, and will be approached with neighborly conversations with the owners to seek a resolution.
City Manager Lee is also creating a process where all permitting can be done online.
In his report, Mayor Bennett said the city is getting close to entering a contract with the developer for the commercial part of the Town Center. Construction of the commercial buildings will start after the municipal buildings are finished, which is expected to be late fall.
The mayor also said the city will receive federal COVID relief money that is being distributed to municipalities. Lookout Mountain, Ga. will receive about $250,000 for each of the next two years. Use of the money will be restricted for infrastructure.