Martin looks to future growth in 2018
Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin talked about his excitement for the coming year, as well as the success the city had in 2017.
According to Martin, the city featured more than 40 new businesses open in 2017, including Culver’s, Dairy Queen, Kona Ice, Krystal, Sports Clips and more.
Martin said there are already several businesses scheduled to open in 2018. Some of the businesses that will be breaking ground will be Hobby Lobby, Jason’s Deli, Nothing Bundt Cakes, I-Hop and a Honda dealership.
“In order to maintain this wonderful trend, we must do all we can to support all of our local businesses,” said Martin. “Not only does this show the current businesses that we care, but it also shows any potential new businesses that we, indeed, support our local businesses on every level. Doing so also keeps our local sales dollars local. The sales tax dollars then go to cover the costs of out police, fire, teachers and other much-needed public services, which, in turn, also helps keep our taxes low.”
“I wish to thank all of the many business owners that have invested in and supported our great community. The services and products you provide are a big part of what makes our community so wonderful, and for that we are most thankful and blessed.”
The Eastern Connector, which connects the Beckwith Road interchange with Lebanon Road and reduced traffic issues on Mt. Juliet Road, opened in July. The road, just less than three miles, connects Lebanon Road to the Beckwith Road interchange at I-40.
“This project has been going on for about 10 years or so and there’s a lot of people who played a role in this – citizens, state, county and local government and our elected officials. There’s not enough we can say to show our true appreciation,” Martin said at the time the connector opened.
“This is such an exciting day. The city of Mt. Juliet was incorporated in 1972, so for 45 years, there has been one way in and one way out. As of today, we’re doubling the capacity of Mt. Juliet Road with this road right here,” said Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty when the connector opened in July.
The road features four lanes and a grassy median, along with a bridge to go over the Nashville Eastern railroad, which carries the Music City Star, and East Division Street.
Crews worked on the roadway since 2015. More than 283,000 cubic yards were excavated, 119,000 tons of base stone was placed, 3,227 cubic yards of concrete was used and more than 52,500 tons of asphalt was rolled.
Mt. Juliet split the cost of the project with the Federal Highway Administration, with oversight from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Andy Barlow, Mt. Juliet deputy public works director, said he believes the city will have other north-south connectors in the future, but none as big or impactful as the Eastern Connector.
Mt. Juliet officials dedicated two of the city’s newest parks in November after citizens donated land and worked to bring the parks to fruition.
The city dedicated Eagle Park on West Division Street on Nov. 13. The park was an Eagle Scout project for John Forth with Troop 150. It’s a bicycle park aimed at increasing safety and awareness for young cyclists. Children can learn to ride a bike at the park, as well as the rules of the road.
State Rep. Susan Lynn had the idea to build a guardrail along the street next to the park after she saw how nervous parents were about its close proximity to cars.
“At the time, I had five grandchildren, ad we enjoyed bringing them to this new park,” said Lynn at the time. “It’s absolutely wonderful, and the children love it, but coming here, even the first time, you could feel that traffic was swift. Parents were sort of helicoptering around their children just because they could feel the swift traffic.”
Lynn proceeded to put in a budget amendment for $10,000 at the General Assembly and used the money to build the guardrail.
Mt. Julier Mayor Ed Hagerty praised the community for coming together to get the park built.
“This is probably the best example of a true public-private partnership,” said Hagerty. “We had a private party, the Eagle Scout John who was involved, we had the [Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee] involved, we had the state of Tennessee involved and we had the city involved. That is the best way to get projects accomplished.
Eagle Park is 100 yards long, 40 yards wide and in the shape of a figure eight as a mini-road course.
The Robinson Park dedication also took place Nov. 13 at the corner of Mt. Juliet Road and Old Lebanon Dirt Road.
Bill and Phyllis Robinson with Robinson Properties donated 11 acres to the city to create the park. It features a half-mile wrap-around hiking trail and outdoor fitness equipment.
“I think parks are important, because sometimes you can just be going through a hard time in life, and you can just come to a park and walk around and think,” said Martin.
Girl Scouts with Troop 425 worked to turn the park into a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
The park offers homes to birds, bees, bats, ladybugs and butterflies.
“We hear a lot about how people want more parks and recreation areas,” said city Commissioner Brian Abston. “In the last three or four years, that’s the direction we’ve been going, and with these two parks today, we’re continuing to move in that direction.”
Martin said there are several city projects on schedule for 2018 he hopes will come to fruition. One such project is the addition of two new traffic signals at Highway 70 and Park Glen and Belinda Parkway and Providence Trail.
There are also plans to start a new city greenway along West Division Street and widen the bridge at Interstate 40 and Mt. Juliet Road.
“[These are] just a few of the projects we’d like to start and/or complete in 2018,” said Martin. “Happy New Year to all and [we wish] everyone a wonderful 2018.”
By Jacob Smith