City holds first work session of the year

Friday, January 9, 2015

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

We're sliding into the new year with big plans for our little town. The Mayor and Council of the City held their first work session of the new year Monday night at City Hall. Amongst the discussion were the plans for upcoming renovations on the Lewisburg Recreation Center outdoor pool, the construction on our signs and entranceway's into the town, and the new regulations for the Lewisburg Fire Department.

Michael Borgelt with Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc. began the meeting by relaying the new plans for the restoration on the outdoor pool at the Recreation Center in Lewisburg.

The new pool is to feature a 16-foot swirly slide and a new diving board -- bigger and better features than before. New gating and lights are to be put up around the pool, and plans call for the mushroom sprinkler that is currently located inside near the smaller pool to be brought outside to the new pool.

Swimmers will see a change from the old pool because the new will contain a salt water chlorination instead of a water chlorination, just to name one major improvement.

"The salt water option was a bit more on the budget, but there are advantages; for instance, it is cleaner, it has less of a chlorine smell, and it will neither fade someone's clothes nor turn their hair green," said Borgelt.

According to Borgelt, an extra $12,655 for the pool to be of salt water instead of chlorine was added to a grand total of $789,437 for the restoration of the existing pool. The council agreed to hire a company that came in $200,000 under budget.

Borgelt explained to the council that by making the forward investment in the salt-water pool, it will save the city money on extended maintenance in the future. "So, it will feel like you're swimming in the ocean?" asked Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham.

Borgelt replied, "No, swimmers will not even notice a difference."

Gobbell Hays will start construction as soon as papers are signed with hopes to have construction completed in time for the summer.

"We did not have to make any drastic employment cuts when the outdoor pool shut down in the beginning of the spring, but with a new slide being added we will have to hire additional employees so the children are all well supervised," said Cary Whitesell, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation.

Joshua Spence and James Kennon with Kennon Calhoun Architecture and Design, the same company which is currently conducting construction on the courthouse, presented their ideas to add new gateway signs and distinct pedestrian walkways throughout Lewisburg. The overall purpose for the renovation is to have a pleasing entrance to Lewisburg.

The Lewisburg Firefighters are looking at being required to complete a yearly agility test to ensure their health is up to par. They will have a six-month notice from the day it is put into action to complete the test. Those firemen who want to complete it ahead of time will have the option. They will have three chances to pass the test; however, if they fail to pass the first test, they must wait 30 days before they can attempt the second.

"Heart attacks are the biggest cause of fatalities among firefighters, so it is important we put something into place to keep my men in good health," said Chief Larry Williams.

Yearly the men will partake in a spirometer test, measuring the men's lung function, a timed agility test in which the men will complete different scenarios that they would experience during a fire, and a physical including a blood test for hazardous metals or materials that might have entered their system while on duty. The women firefighters will be required to undergo a mammogram during their physical.

According to Williams the agility tests and physicals are given to pre-employed firefighters, but he requested the city to adopt the new policy as an annual test and provide funding.

Mayor Jim Bingham closed the meeting by requesting the council support the raising of the state gas tax, a bill Gov. Bill Haslam is looking at putting into action to ensure that Tennessee maintains its high ranking for good road conditions. Tennessee hasn't seen a rise in the gas tax since Sen. Lamar Alexander was in office from 1979-1987. By raising the gas tax, the state will have more revenue to construct improvements on the bridges and highways throughout the state. Mayor Bingham and the Council both agreed that some money should be distributed to the cities to work on their roads.