Road closure

City Council members voted to close a portion of Old Knoxville Highway at their meting Tuesday night. The roadway crossed private property that will be used for a new business. Jaybird Road and Old Knoxville Highway access will now be limited to West Broadway.

NEWPORT—The City of Newport’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Tuesday night where they voted to close a portion of Old Knoxville Highway and agreed to purchase a number of emergency vehicles for the Newport Police and Newport Fire Department.

Council members voted to close a portion of Old Knoxville Highway that crosses 249 West Broadway Street. The request to close the small portion of the road came after Rick Faust introduced building plans to expand his business into the recently purchased property.

Before the council voted on the matter, Carlene Robinson expressed opposition to closure. Robinson expressed concerns saying the closure would create more problems within the area of Jaybird Road and Old Knoxville Highway.

Community Development Director Gary Carver argued there was no evidence that closing the portion of Old Knoxville Highway would have a negative impact, instead it would be taking traffic away from the area.

At the end of the discussion, Alderman Bobby Knight made the first motion to close the section of roadway with Alderman Steve Smith making the second. The motion passed to close the portion of Old Knoxville Highway that crosses the property at 249 West Broadway Street.

In other matters, council members voted to purchase the former AT&T maintenance property at 208 Park Street. According to City Administrator James Finchum, the appraised price of the property is $118,000 but AT&T has agreed to sell to the City of Newport for $100,000.

Finchum said the property will be used to store records.

The council also voted to repair the second portion of Newport Grammar School’s roof. City School Director Sandra Burchette asked last month if she could begin searching for bids to replace the backside of the roof at the school.

Burchette presented the bids to and council members voted to repair the roof for a price of $170,000.

Newport Chief of Police Maurice Shults was placed on the agenda under Bids, Purchases and Expenses where he asked the council to consider purchasing digital mobile radios for the Newport Police Department.

Chief Shults assured this is an upgrade compared to what officers have now and they will purchase the radios using Drug Fund money. The Police Department plans to purchase 25 radios with a total cost of $17,000.

In addition, Chief Shults asked board members to consider purchasing two police vehicles. Finchum assured the council that the vehicles will be acquired under a lease agreement.

Council also voted to purchase a new ladder truck for the Newport Fire Department. According to Newport Fire Chief Jeremy Shelton, the fire department’s ladder truck broke down and they needed a replacement as soon as possible.

In other news, Dennis Thornton was reappointed to serve on the Beer Board. Terry White was appointed to serve on the Newport Planning Commission replacing Mansfield McMahan.

Council also voted to appoint Mike Hannon to serve on Newport Utilities Board replacing Jeff Fancher, whose term had expired. The motion to appoint Hannon came with a 3-2 vote with Vice Mayor Mike Proffitt and Alderman Steve Smith casting the lone two votes.

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