TOWN NEWS: Surprise sidewalk; arts marketing; lighting upgrades

Town surprised by new sidewalk built on its land

Town government leaders have been encouraging merchants to redo their sidewalks for years, sometimes splitting the cost with them.

But a new sidewalk behind the Old School Way public restrooms was nothing they’d planned on seeing — since the town council says that new sidewalk was built on town land without permission.

Nashville Parking and Public Facilities Commission President Lamond Martin said he discovered the sidewalk March 10. A couple of town employees spoke up at the March 16 council meeting and said they had seen it, but they assumed the town had approved it. Martin said no one did.

He said there are several problems with an unpermitted sidewalk in this location beyond the fact that it was built by a private individual on town land. He said its placement makes it impossible to use the parking space which the restroom cleaning lady uses; and the curb is too high and is a trip hazard, which creates a liability issue on town land.

Utility Coordinator Sean Cassiday said the sidewalk and curb also may act as a dam and worsen water drainage problems in the alley area; and it may have been built over the top of water lines, restricting the town’s access to them.

Council President “Buzz” King said if the person who built the sidewalk would have applied to the town for a permit before doing the work, these problems would have been noticed.

Council member Arthur Omberg suggested that maybe the town could sell the land the sidewalk sits on to the person who built it, but Town Attorney James T. Roberts said he didn’t think that would be the correct course of action. Roberts said he planned to put whomever ordered the sidewalk “on notice” and ask that person to remove it. That person would need to approach the town if he or she wanted to suggest a compromise, he said.

Arts group teams with CVB for promotion

The Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission is teaming with a county entity to promote entertainment events to a wider audience.

The A&E Commission will work with the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau to improve communication to artists, arts patrons and Brown County visitors. Its five-phase proposal includes creating a database of local artists; creating a database and capturing demographics of visitors and patrons; communicating regularly with people on those lists through email; promoting arts events weekly on the CVB’s social media accounts; and reporting results back to the commission.

A&E Commission President Nancy Crocker said the commission had hired a media coordinator last year, paying about $500 per month, to do a lot of that work, but it cost too much. She said this arrangement will only cost the commission $100 per month.

The CVB already does much of this work, “but they’re going to make it more entertainment-oriented,” Crocker said. The CVB also can reach a greater potential audience — including large cities that Brown County visitors often come from — with its existing distribution lists and fans, she said.

Lighting upgrades being studied by county, town

The Brown County Commissioners and the Nashville Town Council are studying how much they could save by replacing the various kinds of light bulbs they’re currently using with LEDs.

Commissioner Diana Biddle said a study of just the jail part of the Law Enforcement Center showed the county could save $700 per month off its $4,000 to $5,000 monthly electric bill. The cost of switching out those bulbs would be about $14,600, but Duke Energy provides a rebate of about $5,800, making the net cost about $8,800, she said. With the monthly savings, the new bulbs could pay for themselves rather quickly.

She said Sheriff Scott Southerland asked to get a quote for switching the entire Law Enforcement Center, including outdoor lights, to LEDs as well, so the county won’t vote on any proposal until they have all those figures.

Nashville Parking and Public Facilities President Lamond Martin is looking into putting LEDs in town-owned parking lots and on Pittman House Lane. He’s also talking to Duke about what it can do about its lights. “Between the two, we might improve the lighting in town considerably but we won’t have so many of them, and we can still see,” he said.