Annexation and the completion of repairs and opening of Worth Street were two major topics of discussion at Tuesday night's lengthy Charleston City Commission meeting.Commissioner Frankie McCartney …
Annexation and the completion of repairs and opening of Worth Street were two major topics of discussion at Tuesday night's lengthy Charleston City Commission meeting.
Commissioner Frankie McCartney has logged considerable time researching annexation options for the North Bradley County municipality for a specific purpose ... the availability of state and federal grant money. Charleston has approximately 750 residents, which is on the short side of a major requirement for most grant opportunities.
He emphasized the threshold for most grants is 1,000 residents. This is also the number needed for other small-community ventures.
One Charleston resident has expressed an interest of applying for a liquor license, but the city's low population number is a handicap.
McCartney's focus for possible annexation is the Mustang Drive and Maplecrest neighborhoods, but he also tossed out the possibility there may be interest in some other areas surrounding the current city limits.
"It's not about the money, and what additional taxes we may receive, it's about the numbers," the commissioner said.
He emphasized Charleston residents receive garbage pick-up, and have safety and security from the three-man Police Department.
"They can also campaign for elected office (City Commission), if they don't think we're doing a good job," McCartney added.
He has compiled a letter spelling out the advantages of being inside the city, which he shared with Commissioner Donna McDermott, Mayor Walter Goode, City Manager Caroline Geren and City Recorder Janet Newport.
After a lengthy discussion, it was decided to send the the letter, with an accompanying survey, to potential city residents, especially those on Mustang Drive and in Maplecrest. It will also invite them to a community meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Charleston Elementary School. If the school is not available on that date, another meeting location will be selected.
In the survey, and at the meeting, residents can voice their interest or concerns of the annexation proposal.
If sufficient interest is expressed by the residents of being taken into the city, the Charleston Commission plans to place the issue on the 2020 election ballot.
The areas proposed for annexation are in Charleston's 20-year growth plan.
There are several other hurdles until election time.
Another big issue Tuesday evening was confirmation that Worth Street, off Highway 11 beside the elementary school, has been repaired and is being opened for through traffic.
Street superintendent Melvin Graham left the Commission meeting after two hours to remove the final "Road Closed" sign.
Garner Construction, who had a contract for just over $53,000 for the repair work, had already removed other signs on Worth Street.
The repair has taken between two and three weeks, with the bid let July 26. There are only a handful of residents who were impacted by the detour around the work area, but the roadway was closed to all through traffic. School buses, as well as parents and guardians, had to take a detour when taking students to and from the elementary school.
In other Charleston business:
• Darlene Goins and Melissa Woody attended Tuesday's meeting, representing the Charleston/Calhoun/Hiwassee Historical Society, and the Hiwassee Heritage Center in the heart of the city.
The society, which now meets quarterly, will have a 3 p.m. meeting Sunday at the Heritage Center.
It was reported that plans for the annual International Cowpea Festival are going well, and all spots for food and craft vendors have been filled. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14.
• Gary Patterson, a Charleston citizen, also attended the meeting, seeking information and support for some ideas he has for the community.
Patterson asked who on the Bradley County Commission represents Charleston, and was informed it is commissioners Tom Crye and Louie Alford.
Patterson plans to approach county authorities and asked if they would assist in the establishment of a recycling location or station in Charleston.
On another topic, Patterson asked for the blessing of city authorities if he were to undertake some maintenance and repair at the city cemetery.
He was informed the city does not own the property, but attempts to keep it mowed, especially for holidays.
Patterson said there are a number of low spots and indentations on the property which need care.
Charleston commissioners expressed approval of Patterson's suggestions, although they have no authority to take action.
• Commissioners approved a number of small budget amendments.
They include tweaks for City Administration, the municipal building and utilities, Police Department, equipment parts and repairs, Fire Department, insurance, Street Department, sanitation, Parks and Recreation.
• McCartney is pursuing an interest of placing a three-way stop at Wool and Broadway in the city. Police Chief Johnny Stokes is looking into that possibility.
"We have a number of children who ride their bikes along these streets, including mine," emphasized McCartney.
• McCartney went on to congratulate the nearby city of Calhoun, which has taken action to annex to the west to Interstate 75.
He said it is rumored another fuel distribution center, such as Love's Truck Stop on Lauderdale Memorial Highway, will be located at that intersection on I-75.
"I applaud them for taking this action," he said.
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