Tusculum’s community mobility plan gets the green light | Local News


Tusculum’s community mobility plan gets the green light |  Local News


A comprehensive plan intended to serve as a benchmark for safer roads in Tusculum was approved on Monday evening by the council of the mayor and commissioners.

The commissioners passed a resolution on how to file bankruptcy to approve a Tusculum community mobility plan submitted by a planning consultant after a grant was awarded for the study by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The plan was given the green light on September 14 from the Tusculum Planning Commission and has been forwarded to the Council of the Mayor and Commissioners of Tusculum for review.

It includes recommendations to make Tusculum safer for pedestrians and motorists. The issues identified include Shiloh Road alternatives, Harlan Street alternatives, intersection improvements, grade crossing improvements, and pedestrian / trail improvements.

Recommended projects include the proposed rerouting of Shiloh Road, part of which crosses the University of Tusculum campus; expansion of the existing walking and cycling path in Tusculum Linear Park; and the creation of additional pedestrian crossings in the city.

The planners also recommend pavement and intersection improvements and the expansion of pedestrian facilities on the Tusculum University campus.

“We will do this as resources become available,” said Mayor Alan Corley.

The mobility plan was created after a grant to the city to promote pedestrian traffic and safety in Tusculum was approved in 2020 by the TDOT. The mobility plan was prepared by the national consultants HNTB. Before it was finalized, HNTB consultants visited Tusculum, researched transportation needs, and conducted outreach activities with the public through a survey and in-person contacts at events such as the barbecue of the volunteer firefighters of Tusculum in June.

Michelle A. Christian, a senior long-term TDOT planner in the agency’s Community Transportation Office, explained to the Commissioners what the mobility plan might look like.

Christian said grants may be available through TDOT to help the city implement some of the mobility plan’s recommendations.

Tusculum University is also a major player in the mobility plan. Dr Scott Hummel, President of Tusculum University, attended Monday evening’s meeting.

Hummel said the safety of students crossing the campus as traffic flows on Shiloh Road is an ongoing priority. He offered his approval to the recommendations.

“We’re excited to see a number of ways these crossings are being handled,” Hummel said. “A number of these things would legitimately improve campus security. ”

The study area focuses on the main road corridors of Tusculum, including Erwin Highway, Harlan Street, Gilland Street and Shiloh Road, with US 11E serving as the border to the north and west.

Commissioner Mike Burns congratulated the planners who created the Tusculum Community Mobility Plan.

“The recommendations are very helpful. They are a guide, ”Burns said.

Corley said more study needs to be done and sources of funding need to be found before recommendations such as the Shiloh Road rerouting can practically be implemented.

The report “gives us a plan and a goal to figure out how to get there. We won’t decide how to do it tonight. It just gives us a plan, ”Corley said.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other cases, Corley has said the city is still awaiting information on how much it will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act funds, and more specifically how it will be allowed to use the money.

“We still don’t know. We’ve made a big effort (to get information), but we really don’t know, ”he said.

The Town of Tusculum may have access to ARPA funding of up to $ 770,000.

“Nothing is official yet,” Corley said recently.

Several projects may have interim state approval. They include an upgrade to the Tusculum City Park playground, reimbursing the city for the remuneration of Tusculum auxiliary police officers who assisted with traffic control at the COVID-19 vaccination site put in place more early this year in the former Greene Valley Developmental Center, and the purchase of a back-up generator for Tusculum Town Hall to use in the event of a power outage.

The town of Tusculum also received over $ 70,000 last week as part of the Sulllivan Baby Doe lawsuit settlement filed in 2017 by local attorneys general to hold opioid painkillers accountable for their role in the regional epidemic of opioid dependence.

Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., settled with the plaintiffs in July, opening the door to lawsuit payments to nine counties, including Greene, and the municipalities that are part of it that joined the lawsuit.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said there was still a possibility that Endo would file for bankruptcy, creating the possibility of a “clawback” lawsuit in an attempt to recover the money paid in the $ 35 million settlement. Other plaintiff companies originally named in the lawsuit have declared bankruptcy.

The deadline for Endo to file for bankruptcy is November 3.

“We have put this money aside and will wait until November 3,” Corley said. “We got the money, and it’s in the bank.”

It remains to be decided how the funds for the lawsuit, named after a baby born in Kingsport whose mother was addicted to opiates, will be used. A group of mayors and other officials from the region met earlier this month and discussed opening a regional inpatient drug treatment center.

A former Tennessee Department of Correction inmate labor camp in Carter County may be chosen for the treatment center site.

Corley said that one of the concerns raised at the meeting is that the opioid lawsuit settlement funds are in place to run a treatment center, “but how are we going to pay it when the money runs out? ”

Grant money may be available. This question will be explored further, Corley said.

In another action, Marty Shelton, chief of the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department, said the annual “Truck or Treat” event sponsored by the fire department will be held on October 30 from 5 to 8 p.m.

With some Halloween celebrations already canceled as a COVID-19 precaution in neighboring communities, Police Chief Danny Greene said he expects public participation to be important, as it was. in 2020.

The Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department will also be holding a fundraising roadblock from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 23 in front of Tusculum University.

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