Oak Grove City Council met Tuesday night via Zoom and Facebook Live to discuss the proposed municipal center that would house, at least, the fire department and police department.
Brad Martin, an architect with Lyle Cook Martin Architects, attended the meeting to give council members guidance and estimates of pricing and capabilities.
When Martin proposed the first draft of the new building, he presented the idea to build the center on Walter Garrett Lane right off of Exit 89, where the city already owns property.
Councilwoman Jean Leavell began the discussion saying she disagreed with the location and felt the new fire and police department should be centrally located within the city and should be built on the same lot of the current fire department.
“That property is too valuable to build a municipal building on it,” Leavell said of the Walter Garrett location.
“Plus, the intersection is already atrocious to even get an ambulance out. I’ve seen people get out and stop traffic so an ambulance can get out and to put a municipal building on that property, I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the people.
“I think it needs to go back to the same location as it is. It’s centrally located in Oak Grove.”
She added that the city may have to buy additional land around the old fire department area to build a bigger department to house both the fire and police departments.
All council members agreed with Leavell, stating they believe the new building should be built in a central location, for both response time to anywhere within the city as well as the time and distance it takes for volunteer firefighters who live on Fort Campbell, in Clarksville or in Oak Grove.
Mayor Theresa Jarvis said a resident recently approached her and offered to donate a portion of land for the new departments to be built. Jarvis did not give a specific address to the property but shared that it would be located across from Fort Campbell’s Gate 7.
After hearing that proposition, the council agreed that it would be a prime location for the new building.
“That’s a good central location and it would be convenient to guys coming from post or Clarksville,” Councilman James McKnight said, with the rest of the council agreeing.
The council all shared with the mayor that if the resident is willing to donate a portion of her land, that would be the most ideal location.
Councilwoman Janet Edwards then suggested that if the city decides to house the new fire and police department in a new location, Oak Grove could use the old fire department or police department location as a Christian County Sheriff’s substation.
“During the election of 2018, I was talking with now Sheriff (Tyler) DeArmond and we talked about entertaining the idea of trying to get a county substation down here,” Edwards told the council and the mayor.
“There’s several obstacles to that but I would love to see a county substation in Oak Grove. I think it would be beneficial to both the county and the city.”
Jarvis replied saying that it could be a possibility and the city would have to talk to DeArmond if the council decides to build the new fire and police department at a new location.
Additionally, Martin shared an idea to possibly create a downtown area for Oak Grove, beginning with the municipal center and making it the center of that downtown area, while also housing a new city hall with the fire and police departments.
However, the council agreed that it did not want to include city hall at this time.
Martin suggested that the city allow him to design in a way that would allow for expansion in the future, should the city desire to expand the building to include city hall and potentially create a municipal center.
The council agreed with Martin to design it with that intent.
The council also unanimously approved the first reading of the new animal control ordinance with several amendments to be added before the second reading.
The Oak Grove Committee of the Whole met Thursday to discuss changes to be made to the recently approved animal control ordinance.
The committee met in early January to discuss the ordinance as the committee felt the ordinance they approved in late 2019 was a “placeholder” while they reviewed what the ordinance needs for the future.
The largest portion of Thursday’s discussion focused on penalties, fees and language concerning vicious animals.
Mosier and the committee decided then that they wanted to list KRS laws pertaining to penalties within animal control laws listed under each section of the ordinance where the penalties were applicable.
Those changes were added to the ordinance Tuesday during the first reading of the new ordinance.
However, prior to the second reading, the council along with the mayor and City Attorney Mark Gilbert will do additional research regarding laws surrounding exotic pets and vicious dogs and animals to be added to the ordinance.
The council also told Gilbert some additional changes it would like to see made to the ordinance before the second reading.
Those changes include language outlining how a resident can defend themselves in court or file an appeal should they be given a citation for a violation of the ordinance.
Another addition would be to allow fees and fines to go before the code enforcement board rather than directly to district court. Vicious dog citations would still be required to go before a district judge.
The council also unanimously approved a new litter, rubbish and weeds ordinance that would prohibit excess trash on properties as well as weeds and grass to grow higher than 12 inches.
Jarvis and City Clerk Angela Comperry told the council that while there are several issues regarding ordinances pertaining to nuisances and trash, the city needed to have a new ordinance on the books that would allow the city to cite, and if need be, cut grass and weeds from properties that they said is far above 12 inches tall.
After the ordinance is approved, Comperry said the council or committee of the whole can create a more comprehensive ordinance pertaining to both trash, weeds and nuisances.
The council will hear a second reading for both the animal control ordinance and the litter, rubbish and weeds ordinance May 19.