New infrastructure will help Mount Carmel create new downtown festivals

Jeff Bobo • Nov 29, 2017 at 9:30 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Construction of a new bandstand on Main Street is almost complete, and now city leaders are ready to start making good use of it.

This past summer, Mount Carmel revived its popular annual Block Party after a two year hiatus, but Mayor Chris Jones said he believes there’s potential for the town to host many more fun events and festivals and to create some new traditions.

“I’m trying to lay the foundation, and working with the merchants, to where we can start having new events like a Springfest, or a Summerfest, a Fall Festival, a Winter Festival, and start having these events on Main Street,” Jones said. “It’s a good way to bring people downtown and promote our local merchants, but I think there’s also a demand in our community and our neighboring communities for more activities and fun things to do. Before we can start doing that, we need to put this infrastructure in place.”

On Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen took another step toward bringing that vision to fruition by approving a low bid from Precision Electric for phases 1 and 2 of the Main Street electrical infrastructure project for a total of $16,000.

At $6,000, phase 1 involves running electrical power to the new Main Street bandstand, and for $10,000 phase 2 will add eight electrical connections to the west side of the bandstand for vendors.

There’s a third phase which involves connecting another six electrical hookups on the east side of the stage, and at some point city leaders might decide to run water out there as well.

Vice Mayor Carl Wolfe said the town ought to go ahead and do the six east side connections now. Jones noted, however, that he is working with the merchants to possibly apply for granting funding to pay for that aspect of the project.

“Completing phase 1 and 2 will definitely fix a lot of problems,” Jones said. “Vendors will be able to come straight in with their vans, food trucks and kiosks, and they’ll be able to drive right up next to it, pull their cord off and plug it right in. We won’t be listening to generators, spend the whole night worrying about extension cords or if we’re overloading our electric boxes. These hookups will be 220 volt, 110 volt, or 30 amp, just like an RV park.”

Jones said he and the Merchants Association are discussing ideas for future festivals and events and they hope to be able to make some announcements in the near future.

In other business Tuesday, the BMA:

— Approved the second and final reading of an ordinance establishing the duties of the city manager, which now include the authority to hire, fire, promote and discipline city employees. Acting City Manager Gary Lawson said he hopes to retire by the end of December. Currently Lawson is familiarizing his replacement, Mike Housewright, with the day-to-day operations of the city. Housewright was hired by the BMA earlier this month and participated in his first BMA meeting Tuesday.

— Presented a certificate of appreciation to Mount Carmel Elementary School for being named a Reward School in the top 5 percent in the state for academic performance by the Tennessee Department of Education.

— Presented a certificate of appreciation to Cindy Lopez for inspiring the town to name the new Main Street stage “The Bandstand.”

— Approved an ordinance vacating an 80-foot section at the end of Marshall Avenue which is of no use to the town for a right of way. It will be maintained by the adjacent property owner in exchange for the city quitclaiming that area. Vice Mayor Carl Wolfe offered the only “no” vote.  

— Approved the final reading of an ordinance allowing police to conduct handheld camera photo speed enforcement.                      

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