Big Changes Coming To Springfield: New Playground, Cheatham St RR Crossing Closure, 911 Fees
SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A lot was covered in Springfield’s monthly Board Of Mayor & Alderman meeting held on July 21, 2020.
We have attached the full agenda here but we have added three highlights below.
The recorded meeting (attached to the bottom of this report) is just a little over 60 minutes long but you can adjust the playback speed (behind the little gear on your PC) or (three dots upper right on a mobile device) and zip through the meeting in under 30 minutes. To assist those that would like to hear only the portions pertaining to any of the highlighted segments below, we have added time markers and links for your convenience. Just click on the time marker to launch the player for that segment.
1) Martin Luther King Jr Park To Get New Playground.
Martin Luther King Jr Park off Main Street will be getting a new playground. (LOCATION OF PARK) Keep reading for more details, or you can go to 37:30 in the meeting video to hear the city address the matter.
The City of Springfield Board of Mayor & Aldermen approved a contract with Great Southern Recreation for a new playground at Martin Luther King Jr. Park during tonight’s board meeting. The contract includes the playground, pouring in place surfacing, and shade sail seating. The playground is part of a larger project partially funded by a Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) grant of $500,000 that was awarded to the Springfield Parks & Recreation Department. The full project includes a walking trail and two multi-purpose fields with bleachers at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. See the renderings below.
“For years, Martin Luther King Jr. Park only had playing fields,” said Terry Martin, Springfield Parks & Recreation Director. “With the addition of the playground as well as the splash pad last year, Martin Luther King Jr. Park will be used as much in the summertime as it is in the fall.”
The renderings below show an overview of the site. The grounds and sections of the equipment are wheelchair accessible. The facility is a model inclusive playground with sensory features that allows children of differing ability levels to play together. Construction is anticipated to begin in October 2020, the city said.
2) Cheatham Street Rail Road Crossing To Close To Vehicle Traffic Permanently
Springfield has put in motion a contract with CSX to permanently close the Cheatham St Rail Road crossing to vehicle traffic permanently. Continue reading for more details or you can go to 42:17 in the city meeting video to hear the city address the matter. The full city meeting video has been added at the bottom of this report.
In a deal with CSX, the city of Springfield will be permanently closing the Cheatham St Rail Road crossing. It’s part of a deal with CSX that will net the city $346,000 to retrofit the Memorial Blvd bridge crossing to finally fix the flooding issue on Memorial Blvd around the train bridge that has plagued the city and Farmers Bank for years. (LOCATION OF FLOODING) Though it’s not a done deal, the process (or the initiation of the process) has begun.
The question is, will residents on or near Cheatham St offer any pushback. It did not appear that a traffic study was done or available. For CSX, it would mean one less crossing in an area with three crossings close together, Main St, Cheatham, and Richard. For residents in the vicinity, it could mean less train horn noise.
Back in February, a Springfield man lost his life at the Cheatham St crossing but it’s not likely that was a factor. FULL CRASH REPORT
This is also the same section of Cheatham Street that Smokey Barn News did a report regarding neighbors upset about speeding drivers. SEE FULL REPORT Assuming speeding was still an issue, closing the Cheatham Street Railroad crossing would likely solve much of the problem permanently by significantly reducing the amount of traffic on the road. You may still have speeders but there would be fewer of them.
Who’s Paying For 911?
3) After years of negotiation and work by Springfield city officials, each city is now paying for 911 services. For many years the city of Springfield, White House, and the County absorbed the cost for 911 dispatch services for all of the eleven municipalities in Robertson County. At 35:40 minutes into the city’s recorded meeting video (also available in its entirety at the bottom of this report), the city briefly addresses the matter. CONTINUED BELOW…
Back in 2010, Robertson County consolidated the dispatch services of Springfield, White House, and the county under one roof. You may recall Smokey did a story back in March on what cities should pay for the service, most paid nothing. The Emergency Communication (911) Center is located in Springfield not far from the Robertson County/Springfield Airport. Smokey was there for the facility’s grand opening. (Grand opening)
Since the opening of the 911 Dispatch Center in 2010, Springfield, White House, and Robertson County have been picking up the tab. On the table back in March was a plan to spread out the costs to the other cities in Robertson County. Other than White House and Springfield those cities are Adams, Orlinda, Greenbrier, Cross Plains, Ridgetop, and Coopertown. It was not a new question, it’s been on the discussion table for years.
According to Robertson County Mayor Billy Vogle, it’s something that should have been done a decade ago. “White House and Springfield were deeply concerned that the rest of the cities were not paying their fair share,” Vogle said. Vogle added that in the last couple of years the cost of running the Dispatch Center has climbed significantly due to population growth, followed by an increase in the number of calls going into the 911 Center.
Now the deal is done and each city will be picking up some portion of the tab. Not all cities were happy about the new expense that (for a few of them) seemed to have fallen out of the sky but it had to be done, according to Mayor Vogle. For more details and numbers, we will direct you to our report back in March. CLICK HERE
If you would like to watch a recording of the city’s meeting in full and unedited, we have added it below.