Chapel Hill receives municipal league award

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

As part of long-range plans to improve services and livability, officials with the town of Chapel Hill have been working consistently on a variety of projects ranging from a sanitary sewer system upgrade, development of a new city park and planning a greenway, a replacement of all street signs, and various other capital improvements projects.

In recognition of municipal efforts to improve the town’s infrastructure, quality of life and economic potential, the Tennessee Municipal League will present Chapel Hill with a Small Town Progress Award. The award will be presented on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at 8 a.m. during TML’s 78th Annual Conference in the Mirabella Grand Ballroom of the Murfreesboro Conference Center at the Embassy Suites.

Jeff Broughton, a Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) municipal management consultant, said the Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen outlined several goals for the town in November 2014, including improvements to the sanitary sewer system. The project will both open up new areas for development and increase the capacity of the sewer collection system.

“This improvement will in turn utilize unused capacity at the wastewater treatment plant and create economies of scale to fund future sewer projects,” said Broughton. “The town also received grant funding to rebuild the primary sewer lift station, and created a comprehensive plan for collection system improvements.”

In addition to this expansion, the town upgraded its primary water well pump and controls to gather data needed to make daily operational decisions and for future water supply decisions.

As part of this process, 98 percent of the water meters in the town were replaced. A comprehensive water system leak detection survey also helped discover and repair many leaks helping to raise the water audit validity score by 11 points.

A second objective was to develop parks and recreation opportunities. This began with a walking track at the park on Depot Street that soon grew into a larger pedestrian connectivity plan for the town. Chapel Hill has secured grant funding to produce a bike and pedestrian plan coinciding with land use and economic development planning.

“The plan also includes a greenway to eventually link the town with Henry Horton State Park to capitalize on each other’s resources,” Broughton said. “This land use and economic development plan will also serve as an element for a new comprehensive plan being developed. The town also partnered with United Communications and Henry Horton State Park to provide direct fiber infrastructure to the park, making it one of the few, if not the only, state park to have access to gigabit fiber.”

The town has also undertaken a variety of capital improvement projects to address needs for streets, utilities, parks, buildings and equipment. As part of this, the city replaced all street signs, certified the town’s volunteer fire department at the EMT level, invested in contemporary traffic signal design, and replaced older vehicles and equipment used by a variety of town departments. All of these objectives were achieved while maintaining financial fund balance goals and low debt levels.

Mayor Danny Bingham said, “We are honored to be receiving the TML Small City Progress award. This award represents the accumulation of a great team effort and relentless visionary spirit by our stakeholders in our small town. Chapel Hill represents the positive result when the public and private sectors work along with members of the community to plan and develop for future growth. My sincere gratitude to all those who made this possible.”

Town Administrator Mark Graves added, “There’s just a lot of good people working to accomplish many good things.”

Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments. Other award winners for 2017 include Bristol, for Excellence in Human Resources; Chattanooga, for Excellence in Green Leadership; Collegedale, for Excellence in Community Planning and Development; Dyersburg, for Excellence in Police Services; Erwin, for Excellence in Economic and Community Development; Germantown, for Fire Services; Harriman, for Small City Progress; Livingston, for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization; Paris, for Excellence in Public Works; Portland, for Excellence in Parks and Recreation; and Townsend, Progressive Leadership Award.