Sunday, Feb 14, 2010
Even with the recession, 2009 was the beginning of significant improvements that will benefit residents of Clay County.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation began replacing the bridge over Proctor Creek and building a wider, straighter road from the bridge to the base of Walker Hill. Each week’s progress gives a hint of what the finished product will provide all who travel here. Completion is expected in December of 2010 and will cost $5.1 million, though no amount can be assigned to the potential value of lives saved or injuries prevented by this project.
The Corridor J project is underway with the letting of a $30.8 million contract for phase one. A second phase, scheduled for May of 2010 and likely also $30 million, will allow completion by yearend 2012. This project will provide a new and improved four-lane Highway 52 from the Overton County line into Celina from Cumberland River Hospital to Brown Street. The redefined route will not be cut as deeply into the hillsides in order to avoid the pyrite problems that were discovered two years ago.
Mayor Reagan and I have met with the contractors for the Proctor Creek and Corridor J projects to emphasize our willingness to assist them in hiring Clay County residents for the projects. Both contractors have indicated that they will indeed hire locals.
TDOT has repaved Brown Street from Highway 53 to the bridge over the Cumberland River and around the square, at a cost in excess of $1 million. This has provided a more inviting and safer drive into Celina, as well as fixing several low areas that accumulated rainwater.
The improvements will provide new areas for economic development, as they will invite retail business to settle along the improved route.
Electric Power Improvements
Tri-County Electric Cooperative has three projects in process, one at Bakerton Road, a second at Gainesboro Road, and another at the Celina Substation. These will improve the quality of service and reliability and also provide additional capacity to the industrial park and other areas. The three projects will be completed at a cost of $586,500.
Water & Sewer Upgrades
The Clifton Rich Road extension of water service is scheduled to begin soon and will be completed this spring. County/city leaders and residents obtained a $300,000 grant for the project.
Another water project is in process to replace lines in Celina, Williamson, MacMillan and Washington. The cost of these improvements – $500,000 – was funded by a grant. Also, a sewer project by Clary Construction of Tompkinsville, at a cost of $379,884, replaced many sewer lines in Celina.
Clay County was certified as a Tennessee Three-Star county, a distinction shared with 90 other counties in the state. A financial benefit of Three-Star status is a 3 percent savings on many grants that require a matching portion, which is already saving Celina and Clay County thousands of dollars.
Two new ambulances were purchased in mid-December with a $300,000 grant. The ambulances will provide residents emergency medical aid using state-of-the-art equipment.
Finally, a new 5,000-square-foot, $500,000 facility is scheduled to be completed by mid-year on Williamson Street to house the Clay County Head Start program, which is currently in the Community Center. Once the move is complete, the county will construct an addition to the Community Center for a complete ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant court facility.
Ray Norris is the executive director of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at (931) 243-3338.