McMinnville officials are awaiting word on an easement that would allow the placement of a canoe access into Old Hickory Creek.
Officials want to lease or obtain permission to use a section of state land beside Ernest Crouch Memorial Bridge over Big Hickory Creek on Morrison Street once bridge replacement is complete. A parking lot would be installed beside the roadway, with a gravel path for individuals to carry their canoes down to the river.
TDOT has been notified of the city’s intention. Now, it’s a wait-and-see situation on the paperwork, says TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn.
“A request of this nature will have to be presented to the Excess Land Subcommittee in Nashville for their review and recommendation for approval or disapproval,” she said. “If your local officials can get the paperwork in soon enough, I believe this will be discussed at the next Excess Land Subcommittee meeting.”
The Right-of-Way Division Excess Land office is responsible for disposal of TDOT’s surplus property and right of way in legal access changes, land leases and some licenses.
Once a request to lease or buy land is received, someone from the regional right-of-way office is assigned to gather necessary information about the request and forward it to right-of-way headquarters for presentation to the subcommittee. The committee then recommends approval or disapproval.
“The committee meets periodically to decide matters such as this,” said Flynn. “The next steps in the process will be contingent on the subcommittee’s decision.”
If approval is not recommended, the Central Right-of-Way Office sends the proposal and recommendation to the Regional Right-of-Way Office and its Excess Land Section. A recommendation to approve will be followed by an evaluation to determine any environmental effects the sell or lease may cause based on the proposed use.
If permission is given, city officials are hoping to cash in on the existing gravel access placed for construction of the new bridge. To reduce the cost of placing a canoe access, Greenway Council chairman Dr. Wallace Bigbee suggested they request of TDOT to redo its contract with the bridge builder so the gravel will remain.
TDOT contracts require contractors to restore the area to its original condition, which would remove the gravel from the river, restore the bank and remove its construction access once construction is over. The bridge is scheduled for completion in July.
Flynn says officials will have to get the paperwork in soon in order to be on the Excess Land Subcommittee agenda. While it does not have a regular meeting schedule, it convenes every two months with the next one expected in mid to late March.