Council to consider resolution on Elk Avenue Bridge restoration funds

By Thomas Wilson

   Elizabethton City Council members will consider a resolution Thursday to transfer $214,000 in city funds to a municipal account in Nashville for restoration of the Elk Avenue Bridge.
   The city money was appropriated during the 2002-2003 budget cycle to match funds issued by the state to fund restoration of the 76-year-old bridge. If council members approve the transfer, the Tennessee Department of Transportation will use the funds to restore the bridge.
   "The balance of it is paid by state and federal funds," said Bradley Moffitt, city Director of Finance. "The council agreed back during the budget process that it does need to be renovated and that was a great way to do it with most of the money coming from the state and federal level."
   Moffitt said the city recently received a letter from the state requesting matching funds be submitted. However, the resolution will authorize the city to deposit the matching funds in a separate municipal fund in Nashville to hold until the state initiates the project.
   "When the state does their part, they will be authorized to remove that amount there and any interest that accrues will be ours instead of the state's," said Moffitt.
   No start date has been set for the bridge restoration, Moffitt added.
   Moffitt said state contracts on the bridge project are scheduled to be accepted by Dec. 12. The total cost of the restoration project is approximately $1 million, he said.
   Built in 1926, the Elk Avenue Bridge extends across the Doe River, roughly half a city block from the historic Covered Bridge.
   The bridge was initially scheduled to be replaced in 1999 until a groundswell of citizen support highlighted the historical significance of the bridge to the city, and funding to restore the bridge became available.
   In other business, city council members will also consider on first reading two requests for city annexation on the county's far west side -- Emmanuel School of Religion and the Richard Clark property.
   City Planning Director David Ornduff said Emmanuel and the Richard Clark property are already attached to the city's water and sewer system. The Clark property lies adjacent to the school near Milligan View Road.
   City council will also consider approving on second reading an amendment of roughly $1,232 to the 2002/2003 city budget. The Elizabethton Police Department has received a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) that requires matching funds from the city.
   A second reading and public hearing to amend the city's traffic management ordinance is also on the council's agenda for Thursday.
   The amended ordinance would permit city administration to present traffic calming devices on city streets where the city owns property or a public safety issue is identified by city staff. Council will also conduct a public hearing on the installation of traffic calming devices on Mill Street.
   The Elizabethton City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers at Elizabethton City Hall.