Cookeville City Council approved just the third amendment to the 2030 Land Use Plan at its Thursday meeting.
The West Broad Street area from Pippin Road to County Farm Road will now be eligible for local commercial development. Planning Director Jon Ward said the impacts of the tornado and the extension of sanitary service to this area in 2018 altered the planning outlook.
Ward said many families have expressed concern with rebuilding single family homes on Highway 70, a major artery. Some 11,000 vehicles use the roadway and road improvements are planned for Broad Street.
At a public hearing, resident Jane Barnes said this will significantly change the area. Barnes asked the council to delay a decision on changes to the 2030 Land Use Plan until a major development could be proposed for the area.
“If we hadn’t had the tornado, I think it would be reasonable to not change the 2030 plan,” Council Member Charles Womack said.
Council also approved the next steps in the 10th Street widening project. That includes contracts to begin the acquisition of property along the roadway and an agreement for local attorney David Ledbetter to complete closings and title searches for the land. The city purchased traffic signals and poles for a new stoplight at Doris Drive. Council also gave the staff the ability to incur expenses that will later be included in a bond financing for the entire project.
The 10th Street project centers around the development of a new shopping center at Highway 111.
Older playground equipment will be replaced at Cane Creek Park, near the restroom. Leisure Services Director Rick Woods said the city can no longer find parts for the outdated system. Council also approved the purchase of a synthetic surface below the play system. Woods said the synthetic grass turf works better than mulch and is also safer. The $58,000 playground is a budgeted expense.
The council also voted to change its audit provider. Duncan, Wheeler and Wilkerson pulled out of its third year providing audit service to the city following a 2020 merger. The city hired Blankenship Group, a Nashville-based firm, to complete the final year of the agreement. Finance Director Brenda Imel said the firm has extensive experience with city audits including work with Mt. Juliet and Gallatin. The city will pay $50,000 for the audit.