Warren County is still in the running for a veterans cemetery and remains high on the list for a new National Guard Armory, according to state Sen. Janice Bowling.
Bowling was in McMinnville on Thursday afternoon for a town hall meeting at Warren County Administrative Offices. She says she will travel here monthly, with the exception of July, to listen to concerns from constituents. Her next meeting locally is set for Aug. 29.
Bowling addressed a wide range of topics yesterday, one of them being the state veterans cemetery which will be located in the Upper Cumberland region.
“As of 10 days ago, Warren County is still in the running,” said Bowling. “My understanding is there might be some private property here a local family is willing to donate.”
Bowling also said Warren County remains high on the list for a new armory. Land has already been purchased by the county on Highway 55 near Kidd Ford.
“This armory is now the oldest or second oldest in the state,” said Bowling. “You need a new one. The sad thing is, over the past 12 years, our Reserves and our National Guard have become our standing Army. They’ve been deployed, sometimes twice.”
Judicial redistricting was a contentious issue during this past legislative session. Proposals had Warren County first joining an eight-county district and then a four-county district. Bowling was key in getting the measure defeated in the House with the help of state Reps. Charles Curtiss and Judd Matheny.
Even though judicial redistricting is a pet project of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Bowling believes it may not resurface in the near future.
“I don’t want to have a false sense of security, but I don’t think you’ll see it come right back again,” said Bowling. “All of the House is up for election next year and half of the Senate. I don’t know if they will be eager to take up such an issue during an election.”
County Executive John Pelham was on hand and he expressed concern over the closing of the Tennessee Career Center on Lyon Street. The state office was commonly referred to as the employment office. Warren County residents who need employment office services are now directed to the office in Tullahoma.
“I know it’s unfair of me to ask you to get our Career Center back, but some type of presence here is needed,” said Pelham. “Whether it’s just one person here to help people fill out an application, something needs to be done. For our citizens to have to travel to Tullahoma is something that’s going to be a challenge.”
The state is pushing residents to apply for jobs online instead of visiting a Career Center in person. This is something that’s not always a workable alternative, according to one resident.
“A lot of people like me aren’t computer illiterate, but we’re computer confused,” said Thomas B. Vaughn.
Pelham said he understands Tennessee budget cuts and difficult financial times, but he wants Bowling to work to keep other state offices open in Warren County.
“We’ve lost all the offices we want to lose,” said Pelham. “I don’t want to be greedy, but it’s my job to look out for the best interests of the people of Warren County.”
Other questions concerned a completion date for the four-lane to Woodbury, and the impact of ObamaCare on local governments and River Park Hospital.
“When is the state going to let us know what’s happening and where is the money going to come from?” asked Jeff Golden, a member of the hospital’s board of directors.
Bowling said that information has yet to be made available to her.