With the start of a new year, residents may be wondering what they can expect to happen in Gallatin during 2019.
Here are a few things to look for:
City council gets new member, vice mayor to be elected
The Gallatin City Council will have one new member starting next week when Steve Fann is sworn in as one of the city’s two at-large representatives on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
The Gallatin businessman will replace longtime At-Large Councilman Ed Mayberry who announced last year that he would not seek re-election after more than two decades in public office.
“The biggest thing I would like to see is the city grow in a manner that is acceptable for everyone,” Fann told the Gallatin News after he was elected in November. “It won’t be me accomplishing anything. It will be the mayor, the council and everyone involved.”
In addition to Fann, Mayor Paige Brown, District 3 Councilman Jimmy Overton, District 4 Councilman Craig Hayes, District 5 Councilman John D. Alexander and City Recorder and Judge Connie Kittrell will also be sworn in Tuesday. A vice mayor for the city will also be chosen.
Prior to the meeting, a reception for Mayberry will be held at city hall in the second-floor lobby outside the Dr. J. Deotha Malone Council Chambers beginning at 5 p.m.
Traffic light synchronization continues
Significant progress is expected to be made this year on a $1.9 million traffic light synchronization project aimed at helping reduce traffic congestion along Highway 31E and in the downtown district.
The grant-funded project will allow for the coordination of 25 traffic signals from a single computer inside city hall.
Instillation of fiber and signal controllers are expected to go to bid in the second quarter of this year with construction expected to last up to nine months, according to City Engineer Nick Tuttle.
“All new signal timing plans will be installed and then tweaked based on field observations,” Tuttle added. “Hopefully all of this will be complete early in 2020.”
Comprehensive signal retiming programs have reduced overall travel times by up to 13 percent and can result in an average fuel savings of between 6 percent and 9 percent, according to the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Miracle Field, pedal park expected to open
The first two areas of Gallatin’s planned Miracle Park complex at Triple Creek Park are expected to open later this year.
Construction of the city’s first Miracle Field, which will be fully wheelchair accessible and include artificial turf and no raised bases, along with a pedal park for children to learn how to ride a bike safely, is expected to be completed this fall, according to David Brown, director of Gallatin Parks and Recreation.
The entire Miracle Park complex is estimated to cost between $1.8 million and $2 million to complete. Approximately $600,000 is still needed for an all-inclusive playground, which is the only unfunded project remaining in the complex.
Husband accused of fatally shooting wife gets trial date
A trial date is likely to be set this year for a Gallatin husband and father accused of fatally shooting his wife in 2018.
The shooting happened in the 400-block of Buffalo Ridge on April 3. When police arrived, they found 22-year-old Lexus Williams laying on the ground near her car with multiple gunshot wounds.
Her husband, 25-year-old Corey Williams, has since been charged with one count of first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and false imprisonment. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 17.
Sumner County prosecutors have said they do not plan to seek the death penalty in the case if Williams is found guilty.
New courthouse property negotiations to continue
Sumner County and First Baptist Church Gallatin leaders are expected to continue discussions regarding possibly trading property in downtown Gallatin that would be the future home of a new county courthouse.
Both the church’s parking lot and youth ministry building property on East Main Street along with the county’s nearby juvenile courthouse property were identified by a South Carolina-based judicial planning firm last year as recommended locations for a new courthouse. However, the church’s property located next to the Gallatin Public Library was listed as the preferred location.
Church members voted in November to enter into negotiations with the county to explore possible trading the two approximately 2-acre properties. Any deal would first need to be approved by county leaders and the church before being finalized.