Weiss, Wesson Update Projects for Council

Courtesy of, Chris Norman, City of Dickson

Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and City Administrator Rydell Wesson presented updates on several ongoing projects at the Dickson City Council’s Finance and Management Committee meeting Oct. 16, 2023.

With two new members of the council starting their terms, Mayor Weiss said it was a good time to bring all the council up to speed on ongoing and future projects.

“We felt like we needed to do this, especially with two new councilmen, so you all would know what all we do have going on and kind of where they started and where they’re ending or where they’re at at this point in time,” Weiss said.

Dickson Senior Activity Center

Parking lot improvements and paving began Oct. 16. Administrator Wesson said the project will be done in phases. The center will be closed Oct. 26-27 for final topping and striping of the lots. Wesson summarized the cost of the new senior center at 100 Payne Springs Road to include $1,750,000 to purchase the former Dickson Athletic Center, $1,716,000 in construction costs and $249,613 for paving for a total investment of $3,715,613. In September, the center hosted 4,065 participants for an average of 214 per day.

Dickson Fire Department Station #3

“We’re currently working on the punch list items right now, that’s nearing completion,” Wesson said. Final furniture installation is ongoing but there is some concrete work that needs to be redone. The property at the intersection of Highway 70 East and Ridgecrest Drive was purchased for $87,500 and construction to date totals $5,068,850 for a total investment of $5,156,350. There have been eight change orders approved for a net total of $69,000 and the city is currently seeking $40,000 in liquidated damages from the contractor for exceeding the contract completion date.

Dickson Fire Department Station #1 roof repair

Bids for repairs to the roof of the apparatus bays and living quarters at Station #1 on Church Street were opened on Oct. 16 and are being reviewed. Wesson said a recommendation will be presented at the council’s Nov. 6 meeting.

Dickson Fire Department Station #2 renovations

The council budgeted money for plans for renovations and possible expansion of Station #2 on Pringle Drive in Pomona, but Wesson said the administration is considering other options. “They have a real need, they’re out of space,” Wesson said of the station that opened in 1991. “The facility needs a major upgrade.” In reviewing the location, Wesson said the station is on a septic system, is in a low site that stays wet and is limited in space for expansion. “The cost of expanding it, we feel like would go far better to put into a whole new station at a different location,” Wesson said. “So, we’re currently talking with several people about the possibility of locations and have a few on the table as we speak. So, we’re not planning on doing anything to that building at this point in time, until we see if we can find a better location for it.”

Alexander Drive extension

The city accepted a bid of $2,954,068 from Underground Pipe and Construction to extend Alexander Drive to connect with Gum Branch Road to provide an alternative for traffic other than East Christi Drive from Highway 46. Wesson said the city had $2,838,561 left from the 2016 loan to fund the Traffic System Management project for Highway 46 established by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and budgeted another $115,507 from fund balance to cover the difference. Excavating and grading has begun on the west end with base stone to be placed soon and binder to be laid prior to winter. Work on the east end is expected to take place in the spring. There will be a study conducted to redesign the intersection of Alexander Drive at Highway 46 to add a protected left turn.

Henslee Park

The new parking lot next to the Splash Pad has been completed and the fence along Henslee Drive was added. The Splash Pad ended its first season of operation Oct. 16 while the Playground, Dog Park, disc golf course, walking trails and rest of Henslee Park will remain open normal hours. The activity features purchased with a $25,000 Dog Park Dash Grant from the Boyd Foundation have been installed at the Dog Park. Constructing and equipping the Splash Pad and Playground cost $3,987,402, including the additional paving and fence.

  1. Dan Buckner Park Phase I

The city received a $1,000,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for the first phase of improvements to J. Dan Buckner Park. The state offered to add $250,000 to the grant, with the city providing a 50 percent match. Phase I is the area along Weaver Drive and will include a playground, pavilion with restrooms, two basketball courts, two courts that will be double-striped for tennis and pickleball and ADA-compliant parking. Construction plans have been submitted to TDEC for review and once approved bids will be solicited for construction. Mayor Weiss said after learning of Tennsco’s plan to add three tennis courts, the city attempted to change the two tennis courts designed for Buckner Park to four pickleball courts, but because pickleball was not included in the master plan created by the city several years ago, TDEC would not allow the courts to be changed. “TDEC told us (they) would not approve us doing that and if we did it they would pull the grant,” Weiss said. “They would go along with us double-striping but they would not go along with converting them to four pickleball because they said when the survey was done, that we didn’t show a need for pickleball here.”

Lester Speyer Recreational Complex (Tennsco Park)

The Tennsco Corp. is adding three tennis courts and building a new playground in the recreational complex adjacent to Tennsco Plant 5 and the Tennsco Community Center. The three new courts will bring the total to six courts that can be used for matches by the Dickson County High School tennis team, which lost its on-campus facilities. The city received a bid of $2,690,939 for the project, which Tennsco has agreed to fully reimburse through the Community Foundation for Dickson County. Tennsco owns the complex and leases it to the City of Dickson. Site work is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks and construction is anticipated to be finished in time for the high school tennis season next spring.

Aquatic Facility/YMCA Partnership

After the city couldn’t open the municipal swimming pool at J. Dan Buckner Park due to required renovations and staffing issues, the city began looking into developing an aquatic facility that could include an indoor pool for year-round use to be added at Henslee Park. The city contracted with Wold Architects and Engineers to develop conceptual designs for a facility. The city also has been conducting discussions with the Dickson County Family YMCA and regional YMCA officials about a potential partnership, including touring several facilities in Shelby County and meeting with the YMCA’s design team on Oct. 16. “We think that partnership has a lot of potential,” Weiss said. “We’ve still got a lot of discussions to have on that. They have looked at Henslee Park. They like that location. That’s one of the biggest things we have to bring to the table in this whole discussion is property.” In the preliminary discussions, Weiss said the aquatic facility has been described as being open to YMCA members and non-members. “The good thing, we think, with a partnership with the Y is that they would operate the facility,” Weiss said. “We’ve been more encouraged after every meeting we’ve had with the Y and we’re not ready to move forward there yet, but we’re getting closer every time we meet.” Weiss said some of the meetings also have included corporate representatives interested in being a part of the project. “We think it’s got real merit for us to continue talking with them and moving forward in that direction,” Weiss said.

Downtown Revitalization Phase VI

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has already awarded a $1.2 million Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant that requires a 20 percent local match for Phase VI, which consists of sidewalk and other improvements on Church Street from East College Street to East Rickert Avenue. Kimley-Horn and Associates was selected as design engineers and is working on plans to be submitted to TDOT for review.

Downtown Revitalization Phase VII

The city applied for a TAP grant for Phase VII on Oct. 3 to include sidewalk and other improvements on Frank G. Clement Place and West Railroad Street between Center Avenue and South Charlotte Street (Holland Park to the railroad underpass). Because the city has yet to start construction on Phase VI, Wesson said he’s not sure if the application will be approved. In the past, TDOT has turned down Dickson’s applications when a previous phase is still in progress. “What we’ve seen from that is TDOT will normally not award that grant this time,” Wesson said. “But we’ll wait until we’re under construction and apply again in the next grant cycle and typically receive it at that time.”

West College Street Phase I

The city has received a TDOT Multimodal grant to make pedestrian improvements to West College Street from Mulberry Street to Walker Street. The grant is up to $950,000 with a $50,000 local match. In June the city council approved Kimley-Horn and Associates as the design engineer for the project.

West College Street Phase II

The city applied in July for another TDOT Multimodal grant to continue the pedestrian improvements on West College Street from Walker Street to Polk Avenue. The pedestrian improvements along West College Street are part of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan developed by the city several years ago to qualify for the Multimodal grants.

Highway 70 West/Weaver Drive/Beasley Drive traffic signal

The city has received a $760,000 TDOT Surface Transportation Block Grant to upgrade the traffic signals on Highway 70 West at Beasley Drive and Weaver Drive near Buckner Park. Kimley-Horn has been selected to prepare the environmental and design documents to be submitted for review by TDOT. “That will be the new mast arms and new radar (activation) systems as well to control traffic,” Wesson said. “That gets rid of the wiring and all the hanging, swinging lights up there.”

Henslee Drive/Cougar Pride Way pedestrian islands

After initially approving the design, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is requiring the pedestrian crossing islands on Henslee Drive at the entrance to Dickson County High School be redesigned. “TDOT reviewed this originally and approved that design,” Wesson said. “And then came back and didn’t like it and asked that it be redesigned.” The council approved change orders for $12,700 with Kimley-Horn for additional construction, engineering and inspection services and $37,775 with Stansell Electric to demo and rebuild the islands. Weiss said the city couldn’t refuse to make the changes or it would have had to repay the Surface Transportation Block grant that funded the new traffic signals at DCHS, on Highway 46 at Crestview Drive and Highway 70 East at Hummingbird Lane. “Basically, our hands are tied, so, we’re moving forward with that project,” Wesson said.

Luther Lake stormwater improvements

The city has applied for a $2,966,500 TDEC American Recovery Plan grant to make stormwater control improvements to Luther Lake. The ARP funds from the federal pandemic relief are earmarked for water, sewer and stormwater improvements. The project includes the planting of vegetation to stabilize the banks and control runoff, creating managed wetlands on the south end and either removing or stabilizing the island in the 14-acre man-made lake.

Roadway Safety Action Plan

The city applied in June for a Federal Highway Administration Safe Streets and Roads for All grant to create a Roadway Safety Action Plan that will utilize traffic and crash data to propose improvements to streets and intersections throughout the city to be used in applying for other road improvement grants. The grant requires a 20 percent local match.

Weiss and Wesson said they will continue to update the council on the progress of all the projects.