Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Newport City Council special meeting
Members of the Newport City Council met in special session Tuesday to consider several purchases. Park and Recreation Director Tim Dockery said plans are underway to modify the entrance to the Newport Community Center. The structure currently is entered from Prospect Avenue, but in the future, the entrance will be from the Cosby Road side. No plans for a modification will be implemented till renovations of the Tanner Building are completed and the Partnership with its tourism and Chamber of Commerce, have moved to that building. City Manager James Finchum said the move is "the beginning of a long term re-organization of the community center. Plans are to construct a 15' X 15'timber pavilion and two covered walkways, leading to the entrance. The 70' walkways will lead to the side entrances from the north and south parking areas. The entryway from the Cosby Road will be widened to allow for increased traffic and to maintain safety. The council accepted the low bid of $28,467, from Hearthstone for the needed lumber, and city employees will do the construction likely in about a year. Partnership President Lucas Graham asked the council to consider increased funding in the new budget for his organization. He pointed out that the Partnership currently receives funding that is $80,000 less than 10 years ago. He also pointed out that only $28,000 has been made available for marketing of the community. Graham said marketing is important to promote the community and its assets. Pointing to Morristown, Graham said "marketing pays off". Vice Mayor Mike Proffitt pointed out that those who pay city taxes also pay county taxes which also go to fund the Partnership. City Manager Finchum remembered that at one time other sectors of the community made additional contributions but today only the utilities make separate contributions to the Partnership funding. Graham said the increased funding would allow him to hire a project manager to assist with retail and tourism development. Shoemaker Landscaping will provide two gates and 800' of fencing for around the city park on Smith Street, at a cost of $10,900. And Western Auto will provide two Husqvarna Zero Turn mowers for parks and recreation at a cost of $10,920.

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