The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman on Monday authorized a $650,000 capital outlay note to complete construction of the street, sidewalk and lighting improvements under way in the downtown historic district, to finish renovations of the future McKinney performing arts center at Booker T. Washington School and to restore funds to the town’s general fund that have been used to meet expenses on the two projects.
The outlay is to be repaid over the next 12 years at 2.71 percent interest.
In his recommendation for the financing, Town Administrator Bob Browning told board members that more than $250,000 in cost savings have already been realized on the downtown streetscape and McKinney Center projects by using labor of town employees and prison works crews from the Carter County Work Center.
According to Browning, materials and other costs related to the projects, including $100,000 spent on the McKinney Center renovations and $40,000 in expenses incurred for the streetscape improvements, have been paid for in part with funds from the town’s general fund that need to be restored in order to avoid negatively impacting the town’s cash flow.
Based on estimates provided by town Operations Manager Craig Ford, Browning said an additional $400,000 will be needed to complete the McKinney Center, and another $110,000 will be needed to wrap up the street, sidewalk and lighting improvements downtown.
The board authorized the $650,000 capital outlay note to restore the general fund dollars used to date, to cover expenses already incurred and meet the projected costs of completing both projects in a vote of 3-1 with Alderman Jerome Fitzgerald opposed.
In other business, the board voted to submit a compromise proposal to correct hazardous traffic flow conditions at the intersection of Andrew Jackson Boulevard (US 11E) and Cherokee Street for approval by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Mayor Kelly Wolfe said the proposal from the town’s Traffic Safety Committee is to reconfigure the entrance and medians in front of the Washington County Justice Center to eliminate all left turns from Cherokee Street onto to the highway and to extend the highway’s center turning lanes by about 70 feet.
According to Wolfe, the reconfiguration will prevent traffic from crossing Andrew Jackson at Cherokee in attempt to eliminate a dangerous traffic pattern that has long existed at the intersection and was exacerbated significantly by the location of the justice center near the intersection.
Wolfe called the proposal a compromise between the wishes of at least one business owner who is opposed to any changes at the intersection and County Mayor Dan Eldridge, who had requested a traffic signal.