By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
Cannon County Commission okayed a measure calling for a joint meeting with Woodbury about the future of state Route 70S.
The resolution made by Commissioner Kevin George calls for a meeting to discuss the options presented by the Tennessee Department of Transportation for completion of 70S. His motion was seconded by Commissioner Clint Higgins.
George suggested that County Commission, Woodbury Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the Industrial Development Board meet along with the county and city planning commissions.
County Executive Mike Gannon is to arrange the meeting possibly for either Jan. 7 or 14th.
George's motion came on the heels of a suggestion by Commission Chairman Mark Barker that Cannon County needs to make a recommendation to TDOT's Rural Planning Organization (RPO) concerning the project.
"We need to give them a recommendation on what we think," Barker said. "We've been thinking about at least for a month."
"They (TDOT) do want your input," agreed County Executive Mike Gannon.
TDOT engineers have drafted suggested routes that basically take a northern or southern path around Woodbury. Two or four-lane versions of the highway have also been suggested.
While neither path has any impact on George's Third District, several citizens from East Side have come forward to him with concerns about the highway.
Commissioner Chuck Holt, who represents Woodbury on the Commissioner, said a number of residents are worried about the roadway's path.
"Once we do a bypass around Woodbury … it's going to kill Woodbury," Holt said.
Holt said he has done considerable research about the proposal.
"I've looked at Sparta and McMinnville" as well as other communities like Alexandria, he said. "I just don't see what the possible benefits are to our community."
Many local businesses are struggling to keep going. They can't afford to move. They are doing good to keep their heads above water, Holt said.
The project benefits McMinnville and not Woodbury, he said.
"We need to protect our old places," agreed Commissioner Jim Jones.
IDB Chairman Randall Reid said Woodbury is different than communities like Alexandria in that it is Cannon County's seat of government. Alexandria is not a county seat.
"The Courthouse is the main reason people come downtown. You can put a road anywhere, but people will still come downtown," he said.
Reid said the IDB needs to be a part of the discussion.
"There needs to be a lot of input from a lot of people," he said.
George's motion calling for a meeting between all the appropriate town and county officials was passed unanimously.