Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Cookeville Will Take Next Steps With Tech Partnership For Gateway Signage Project

Cookeville City Council voted to skip committee formation and move forward with a Tech partnership for an upcoming gateway design project at its Thursday night meeting.

City Manager James Mills said that committees can sometimes slow down the work. He said that his recommendation was to move forward in these conversations to get the design phase done as quickly as possible.

“The city has wanted to look at gateway signage along our interchanges at I-40 for many, many years, and this is just a perfect opportunity and we don’t want to delay it anymore,” Mills said. “So that’s why I’ll present a couple of tweaks to the university and I think we’re ready to proceed to design as soon as the university is.”

Mills said that one tweak the city council discussed was adding the city seal to the signage to personalize the university designs to the city. President Phil Oldham proposed a 50/50 partnership between the university and this city for this project. Mills said that the city has already budgeted some $25,000 for the project.

“I want to clarify that Tuesday we talked that we had $50,000 in the budget for gateway signage,” Mills said. “The only budgeted in the Quality of Life fund was $25,000. And that was not to construct the sign, it was to go through the design process. This would also have to go through TDOT.”

Mills said that this would go through the TDOT Gateway Project Program. He said it’s a program that allows and promotes signage on TDOT’s right-of-ways. Mills said that the location has not been decided, but the current location in mind is off of Willow Avenue. City Attorney Dan Rader said that the two primary considerations are location and what the sign will look like.

Mills said that the next steps are to converse with the university and a design they can agree on. The council did not have further discussions about a partnership on Tucker Stadium upgrades at this meeting.

In other business, City Council approved the appointment of Dana Looper as the city’s Specialty Judge. Looper will serve as the judge in the event that newly-appointed judge Joy Buck Gothard is unable. Mayor Ricky Shelton said that she will serve the remainder of the term until July 2023.