Council adopts $23.6M plan for roads, parks

Story courtesy of Daily News Journal located in Murfreesboro, TN


Correction: Murfreesboro City Councilman Ronnie Martin opposed the 2020 capital improvement plan. A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the plan approval was unanimous.


Murfreesboro officials recently approved a $23.6 million capital improvement plan for roads, a Siegel Soccer Park improvement and greenway.


"These projects are good for the city," City Councilman Rick LaLance said in joining the majority in a 6-1 vote to support the plan.


Councilman Ronnie Martin opposed the plan because he's concerned the city may use money from the proposed sale of Murfreesboro Electric Department.


"I am not for spending any of the MED money for capital improvements," Martin said during a Tuesday interview.


Prior to the vote, City Manager Craig Tindall told the council members that they could use money for projects from the proposed sale of MED to Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. The larger utility agreed to pay $43 million upfront and then $17.3 million for 15 years.


Greenway will connect 2 parks

The plan includes $6.7 million toward a nearly $14.8 million project to improve Siegel Soccer Park on the city's north side. This project and a 35.8% property tax increase have faced opposition.


The council agreed to improve the park as part of a 20-year lease for tournaments and operations with the Tennessee State Soccer Association. The tournaments are expected to generate city revenues through an estimated 20,000 hotel room bookings per year.


The city has $770 million in long-term improvement plans with about $427.4 million yet funded. Roadways make up about 68% of the long-term improvements. Recreation represents 12% of the city's long-term improvements, and public safety makes up 9% of the plans. An additional 6% is for schools.


The soccer park project includes the following:


installing nine synthetic turf fields that are more usable in wet conditions;

adding about 700 seats to the existing 1,000 seats in the grandstands for the championship field;

and constructing a small indoor practice field, lighting for fields, restrooms and a pavilion.

The approved 2020 capital improvement plan also calls for spending nearly $1.1 million on a greenway extension to connect the soccer park north to Walter Hill Park.


Given the overall greenway connector project will be $3 million, staff recommend spending $1.5 million in the proposed 2021 capital improvement plan.


The 2020 plan also includes $800,000 for studies and engineering for park plans.


Plan provides money to extend Cherry Lane

In addition to recreation, the 2020 plan sets aside $2 million out of an overall $16.8 million for phase two of the Cherry Lane extension project.


Phase two is part of a city plan to connect Cherry Lane from the Siegel Soccer Park area off Memorial Boulevard to a future interchange at Interstate 840 by 2024.


The Cherry Lane improvement calls for a five-lane road with sidewalks.


Longer term, city officials hope to extend Cherry Lane from I-840 to Northwest Broad Street (U.S. 41), Florence Road and a nearby Sazerac distillery, and an interchange at Interstate 24.


Road money to attract Costco

The 2020 capital improvement plan also provides money to promote economic development northwest of the I-24 interchange with New Salem Highway. The city seeks to attract a Costco store and other businesses to this area.


The improvements include $5 million for a three-lane extension of Warrior Drive to Beasie Road with $2 million coming from the state and $3 million from the city's 2020 plan.


The city also has an $8.5 million plan to build a bridge over the Stones River that would connect Beasie Road to River Rock Boulevard by the old Racquet Club property. Part of the $8.5 million would be used to improve the New Salem Highway intersection with Warrior Drive.


The 2020 plan also provides $500,000 toward a $2.1 million project to provide a right turn lane on Robert Rose Drive on the east side of Thompson Lane. The city has already borrowed $1.6 million for the turn lane project.


Plan provides money for Rover bus office

In addition to roads, the 2020 plan provides $1 million to go toward a $14.5 million transit office for the city's Rover bus service.


The 2020 plan also includes $2 million for the city to construct a courtroom outside of City Hall.


An additional $700,000 is to replace Fire & Rescue pumper equipment.


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Reach Scott Broden at sbroden@dnj.com or 615-278-5158 and on Twitter @ScottBroden.

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