Lakeland kicks off Huff N Puff project and holds Town Hall

bigger-lakeland-logoIn an evening that strayed from gun range noise to new term limits, the kick-off of the Huff N Puff Road project and deferred action on sewer fee hikes, Lakeland’s leaders heard some citizens vent and took action on various matters at a series of meetings on Nov. 10.

Town Hall

A brief Town Hall meeting took up the topic of noise from a gun range disrupting quiet Lakeland neighborhoods, but the board took no action.

Jesse McCabe spoke mildly when he complained about the incessant noise from 8 a.m. until dark from the largest gun club in the state firing off near his home. He was referring to the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) at 9428 Old Brownsville Road, Arlington. He also mentioned that the shells from the gunfire, if not retrieved properly, could be a problem on the flood plain.

Another citizen, Rich-ard Gonzales, also lives close by the gun club and spoke up in the organization’s defense about how long it has been in their present location. He said the club also does recover the lead periodically and noted that most are now steel anyway and not lead.

Another resident talked about a two-month utility billing delay with no helpful response from MLGW.

A partial board was present for the town hall, which was followed by a meeting of the Sewerage Commission and a city business meeting. Josh Roman, vice mayor, presided, and Commissioners Michele Dial and Clark Plunk were also present, constituting a quorum.

Sewerage Commission

Acting as the Sewerage Commission, Roman, Dial and Plunk voted to recommend that Lakeland accept the sanitary sewer concept plan for Canada Road Business Park, Lots 1 & 2, for a period of three years.

This is a 9.19 acre development on the south end of Canada Road near U.S. 64. The development consists of three lots, with two lots totaling 4.96 acres to be used for commercial use and one 4.20 acre lot to be dedicated to the city as parkland. Sewer will flow from the proposed development to Lift Station 17, which has a remaining capacity equal to 11.6 acres of commercial development. The sewer will ultimately be pumped into the Scotts Creek Interceptor.

At the business meeting that followed, the board formally accepted the Sewerage Commission’s recommendation.

Board meeting

City Manager Jim Atkinson updated the board on work at Huff N Puff Road. He said he considers it to be one of the most important projects in the city’s history.

“It’s good to see that project underway finally,” he said.

The one-year Huff N Puff Road and Beverle Rivera Drive Project consists of the extension of Beverle Rivera Drive to connect to existing Huff N Puff Road near the ATV Store. Huff N Puff Road will be converted to a double-ended cul-de-sac with the existing connector road to provide access from Beverle Rivera. Beverle Rivera east of the ATV Store will be improved with 12-foot lanes and an eight-foot gravel shoulder on each side.

Ferrell Paving won the project back in September with a bid of $1,404,335.12 with a construction contingency amount of $300,000 for a total project cost of $1,704,335.12.

The Huff n Puff portion of the project (approx. $484,763) is an 80 percent/20 percent Surface Transportation Program grant. The city’s 20 percent match will be approximately $96,952.60. The Beverle Rivera portion of the project (approx. $919,572.12) is 100 percent funded by the city through a Tennessee Local Development Authority (TLDA) loan. The city’s total contribution for both roadways is approximately $1,016,524.72. Funds are budgeted in the General Fund Engineering Capital Improvement Projects.

Atkinson also mentioned installation of a gateway to minimize illegal dumping on Evergreen Road. It will require reaching out to property owners to ensure they all continue to have access.

Atkinson briefly mentioned how citizens approved term limits for the city board and mayor in the Nov. 8 elections and promised future discussion on the topic at a later date.

The Lakeland city board also discussed other city business and heard from various speakers:

• They approved submission of a Transportation Alterna-tives Grant Appli-cation to the Memphis Metro-politan Planning Organi-zation to improve Canada Road for $475,000. The TA grant requires a minimum 20 percent local match. The city’s contribution would be $95,000.

This grant is similar to the TDOT TAP grant submitted in October 2016, although the available funding is less. The city’s strategy is to apply to both grants to increase the probability of receiving grant funds for the project. Since TA funds are limited, the scope of the project was reduced to fit within the acceptable parameters. The proposed application consists of improvements to the existing bike and pedestrian facilities on Canada Road between I-40 and Highway 64. Improvements include extending the existing bike and pedestrian facilities north to tie into the new I-40/Canada Road Interchange and stamped concrete crosswalks at major intersections.

• A community clean-up day at Winward Slopes Park in Lakeland gave residents the opportunity to dispose of bulky and hard-to-dispose-of items in one spot Nov. 5. Atkinson said citizens brought in 14,160 lbs. of trash and yard waste, 3,020 lbs. of metal, 2,685 lbs. of e-waste and 38 tires.

• Keep Lakeland Beautiful planted shrubs and other plants in the median near Sprouts.

• There’s a survey and study underway to see if Lakeland residents want to have a community garden and where it should be, according to Commissioner Dial, who is the board’s liaison to the Parks and Recreation/ Natural Resources Board.

• Keep Tennessee Beautiful had two representatives who mentioned that their annual statewide 5K race will be held at the Delta Blues Winery in Lakeland on April 8, 2017. Lakeland sponsors are currently being sought. The organization also is seeking volunteers for its Youth Advisory Council. Organizers left brochures and cards with board members.

• The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce received an agreement for $1,000 monthly funding from the city for FY2016-17.

• Until additional information is available, the board deferred to a future meeting further discussions on sewer issues with MLGW and amendments to residential sewer user rates and sewer charge adjustments.

• The board deferred until December a resolution on a revised debt management policy for the city.

• The board also deferred adopting a fund balance policy for the city.

The board also approved items on the consent agenda:

  • Implementation of Skyward Business Suite Software in FY2017 and entering into a shared-service agreement with Lakeland School System for IT and HR personnel costs.
  • The dedication of parkland from Pet Hospitals of Lakeland and waiving certain development fees.
  • Amending the official zoning map of the city by rezoning parcel L015100001 from AG (Agricultural) to C1 (Community Mixed Use/Commercial), Parcel L015000520C from PD (Planned Development) to $3 (Suburban Cottage) and Parcel L015000518 from PD to R3. All parcels are near the intersection of Evergreen Road and U.S. 70. (This was the final reading of this ordinance.)
  • Accepted the city’s audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. The audit firm issued a clean opinion, and there were no material audit adjustments or findings that had to be reported.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to