The Morristown City Council provided a slew of good news Tuesday about upcoming events and projects upcoming and underway.
The council heard about the return of concerts on the Downtown Green, a proposed storybook trail at Civic Park and resurfacing and improvements on West Andrew Johnson Highway.
The council, operating as the beer board, approved the sale of beer at four concerts to occur over the next several months on the Downtown Green.
The first event will occur on May 7. Other events will be on June 4, July 2 and Aug. 6.
Last year’s events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it will return after a year-long hiatus.
The Downtown Green is now under the operation of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce after being under the supervision of Crossroads Downtown.
City Councilmember Tommy Pedigo raised questions about the process undertaken as far as the transfer of management.
“I think it should have been returned to the city first,” he said.
He said he felt the steps taken should have been that Crossroads return the property back to the city and then the city transfer power to the chamber.
If bodies are allowed to just transfer management of city-owned property to someone else without any city oversight, he felt there could be a lack of control.
Craig Price, parks and recreation director, also told the council during its regular meeting about a grant request proposal to develop a storybook trail at Civic Park.
He said the grant would be administered by HC*EXCELL’s Ready By 6 program.
He said the trail would consist of 18 storybook marquees. Price said the Hamblen County schools’ agricultural mechanics and engineering students would build the marquees. Parks maintenance will then install.
He said he believed the trail would benefit the Boys & Girls Club across the street, Fred Miller Park and the upcoming Jolley Park.
“There’s a whole range of educational and recreational opportunities there,” Price said.
City Manager Tony Cox also talked to the council about several ongoing projects.
“We are in the construction part of the year,” he said.
He said underway is an improvement project from Crescent Center to West Morris Boulevard on West Andrew Johnson Highway.
“I know it’s been long awaited,” Cox said.
The improvements include an upgrade on the traffic light at the intersection of North Economy Road and West AJ Highway, which is currently underway. There will also be sidewalk and street improvements.
Cox also announced that the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to resurface West AJ Highway from West Morris Boulevard to the Jefferson County line.
“When we get done with the two project we will have a revised system all the way from the county line to Morris Boulevard,” Cox said.
The council also approved on first reading an ordinance changing buffers and screens for residences. The city is changing the types of trees used for buffers.
There has been some controversy over the types of trees and whether they would provide adequate screening.
Councilmember Kay Senter asked that the city horticulturist review the types of trees once more.
Daryl Brady, with U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger’s office, also announced that the congresswoman will be maintaining an office on East Morris Boulevard, moving away from its previous location near Walters State Community College.
“We’re supposed to move into the office on June 1,” he said.