City supports Horton and old National Guard Armory rennovations

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Lewisburg City Council began their monthly meeting on Tuesday with a remembrance of former city employee Brandon Bradley. Bradley, who recently passed away after a long battle with leukemia, for the Parks and Recreation Department. Before his diagnosis, Brandon worked as a lifeguard and helped where he could in the department during his period of remission.

Dee Schultz, his supervisor, and Director Cary Whitesell read a tribute to Bradley before leading the meeting in prayer.

The council also passed a resolution supporting the renovation, instead of the demolition, of the inn facility at Henry Horton State Park.

Councilmen Bam Haislip and Steve Thomas, along with Mayor Jim Bingham attended State Representative Rick Tillis’ Friday meeting on the status of the inn at the park, in order to show support for retaining the full array of hospitality operations at the park.

Councilmen approved, with no further discussion, a resolution indicating the city’s interest in accepting the site of the former armory building in Lewisburg from the Tennessee Military Department.

The state no longer sees any further need for the 9,200-square-foot armory building and 1.29-acre parcel and has offered it, as is, to the city.

The council discussed potential uses for the building, and the costs involved, at their work session last week but ultimately reached a consensus that the city should not pass up the offer, working on uses and time frames for development after the acquisition.

The city will be needing a temporary home for the Lewisburg Fire Department during renovation to the city’s main fire hall, expected to take as many as 10 months once started. The armory building would be able to accommodate the department’s fire trucks.

The cost of environmental remediation and required renovations approach nearly $650,000.

The original armory was built is 1955 and has been vacant for roughly 15 years. A newer armory building was constructed in 2002.

The council agreed to extend the city’s contract with Retail Strategies for another three-year period. The company has worked with the city for the last three years, acting as a consultant bringing retail businesses to Lewisburg.

They have been instrumental in the introduction of several new businesses, Bojangles and Hwy 55 being two examples. Greg Lowe, the city’s director of economic development, has said that their contacts and industry knowledge are worth the cost.

The three-year deal is worth $72,000.

Councilmen also voted for a PILOT agreement for new space and equipment expansions at Old Hickory Smokehouse. A payment in lieu of taxes agreement allows municipalities in Tennessee to extend tax breaks to new or growing businesses.

The PILOT for the proposed $4 million expansion, expected to add 120 new jobs, would save the company an estimated $217,000.

An economic grant and an infrastructure grant for the expansion were also approved.