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Lengthy Debate Ensues Over Farmer's Market
by Ashley Murphy

Monday, April 19, 2010

Commissioner Louie Alford opened today's commission meeting by recognizing the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency. EMA Director Danny Lawson and a few representatives were present to accept the certificate of recognition.

Mayor D. Gary Davis requested a vote on a resolution congratulating Volunteer Electric Cooperative for their 75 year milestone in Bradley County. Commissioner Jim Smith made the motion to accept the resolution and it passed unanimously.

A Law Enforcement Committee meeting has been called on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 6 p.m. preceding the Commission work session. This meeting will be to discuss the procedures used by the Environmental Department of the Sheriff's Department.

Commissioner Lisa Stanbery had questions regarding the old McDonald school building and the renter and landlord policies. A long discussion then followed, only to find that County Attorney Joe Byrd is still looking into a multitude of aspects in this ordeal with the property, the building, liabilities, leases, etc. Once the information is obtained, the results will be brought forward to the commission.

On the regular agenda was a motion to allow the use of land on Urbane Road to build a building that would subsequently house a new farmer's market, known as Farmer's Market North. Many concerns were that this new facility would ultimately shut down the current farmer's market on Peerless Road, which has been in business since 1974.

Commissioner Mark Hall asked that the grant funds that will be used to build the new building be used to make upgrades and needed repairs to the Peerless market. Commissioner Louie Alford stated that this $40,000 grant is a federal USDA grant specified for the use of this new building for a farmer's market and can't be used inside the city limits of Cleveland. Therefor, this money could not be used on the Peerless Rd. market.

After several substitute motions and calls for question, the motion passed unanimously.

Barbara Gilbert and Janelle Hardin came before the commission to discuss ongoing issues with Wilkinson Creek, which flows through Royal Oaks, the subdivision that the two women reside in. Gilbert stated that stormwater run-off from the airport construction is beginning and with the coming months, this could be a safety issue to residents. Hardin continued by saying that even with the lack of rain, the creek continues to rise and it could potentially impact homes in the area.

County Engineer Sandra Knight stated that water from the airport construction will not be diverted to Wilkinson Creek anymore, as it was. Now, the stormwater run-off will be redirected to Little Chatata Creek. Information and legalities are still ongoing. Information will be brought forth as gathered.

Stacey Hayes, a candidate in the Fourth District County Commission race, came before the podium to raise a concern he had. Hayes stated that he has received a phone call from fellow candidate Jim Smith making harmful threats. Hayes also states that his father was also threatened by Smith.

When Smith was allowed to speak, he denied the allegations, saying he was unsure of where such a story was pulled from .

The County Commission will hold their next meeting on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Bradley County Courthouse.