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Pause pressed on potential park plans
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Warren County and City of McMinnville officials met once again to discuss the potential park that would alleviate storm water problems, but the change in commissioners will likely slow the process.

Storm water manager Lyndon Bussell attended the county Building and Grounds Committee meeting last Tuesday night to provide some more information on the potential park in the empty lot behind Warren County Administrative Offices to the city. 

The lot has flooded Kenneth Beckwith’s property for years, and the park will have features such as a detention pond and rain gardens that will alleviate the flooding. The lot currently belongs to the county and in July the committee voted to quitclaim the property to the city. Attorney Robert Bratcher said at the meeting the land will have to be surveyed first. 

Commissioner Tommy Savage decided the discussion should be tabled due to the new commissioners coming on. 

“The reason why I motioned to table this is because I think it would be premature to ask our county commission, which will be nearly one-third new members, I think it would be premature to ask them to vote on something this important,” said Savage. “We also have a new administration that has barely heard about this over the last few days. This can be brought back up next month and let everyone get educated on this and let it sink in.”

Savage also mentioned receiving some negative feedback about giving the city county land. He says people claim the county might want to expand onto the property in the future. 

 “I can’t see y’all expanding anymore without me going to every court in the land,” said Beckwith.

“I’m not saying I’m against it, I just don’t think we need to do it here in September. I just think we need to put it off for another month,” said Savage.

“Are you against beginning the process of educating people about the project and the property?” asked Commissioner Carlene Brown. 

Savage said he was not against educating the new commissioners on the project.

“Would you be open to having this as a part of our September meeting as a presentation?” asked Brown.

“We could have a committee meeting and invite as many people as we want to come from the commission to let them see it,” said Savage.

“Why would you not want it at the county commission meeting when you know everyone is going to be there?” asked Brown. 

“We always have a lot of things, the September meeting is one of the biggest meetings of the year,” said Savage.

“It would take 10 minutes,” said McMinnville Alderman Sally Brock.

“Has anything been added to the agenda for the September meeting like any other presentations or visitors who want to be there and talk about electronic voting?” asked Brown.  

“It can be on the September meeting, but I will say that there are going to be some new members on the Building and Grounds Committee and I would hate for you to run it over them and the first time they ever hear it is in a full court meeting. They are going to say here I am sitting on Building and Grounds and they didn’t even let me know what was going on,” said County Executive Terry Bell.

Bell also voiced his concern on the 50 feet of road frontage required by the city codes. 

“Wait, is that against our zoning regulations? We can change those regulations pretty darn easily if that is the issue,” said McMinnville Everett Brock. 

Commissioner Scott Rubley was in attendance and mentioned it would take a long time for a surveyor to look at the lot, so this was not a time sensitive matter. Beckwith suggested at least looking into removing the berms on the old baseball field that channel water onto his property.

“There is a berm down there that used to be there for baseballs not to go up into the bleachers. If those berms can be knocked down it will help me immensely because all that water is channeled. It never hits the field itself, it is channeled to come into my yard,” said Beckwith. 

Commissioner Robert Hennessee made the motion to remove the berms as a temporary fix and it passed unanimously. Bell told Beckwith the problem with the project is just that the new commissioners are coming on and they should not vote on something without knowing about it. 

“For years I’ve been told all these things can happen and then something magical comes along. It’s called an election and it all goes away,” said Beckwith.