Center Hill Recreation Area opens today

May 8, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces that Center Hill Recreation Area, located adjacent to Center Hill Dam, is once again opening for public use beginning Friday, May 8, 2020. Center Hill Recreation Area has been closed since 2008 as a result of construction activities related to the Center Hill Dam Rehabilitation Project.

Visitors who once utilized the area will notice many improvements. There is now a multi-lane boat ramp, security lighting, three non-reservable picnic shelters, public restrooms, and increased parking availability, all of which are available to the public without charge.

“We are excited to finally be able to open Center Hill Recreation Area to the public once again,” said Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake resource manager. “I know this opening has been greatly anticipated since it was closed over 12 years ago. We are proud of the improvements that have been made and look forward to the area providing many recreational opportunities for visitors at Center Hill Lake. We encourage everyone to come out and visit the area; the view alone is amazing!”

Any questions about the opening of Center Hill Recreation Area can be addressed to the Center Hill Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

Board Votes to Purchase Property to Build New Pre-K to 2 School

May 8, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

The Board of Education has now settled on a site for construction of a new Pre-K to 2nd grade elementary school to replace Smithville Elementary.

During its regular monthly meeting Thursday night by video conference, the board voted to purchase 24.5 acres of property belonging to the owners of the Family Medical Center on North Congress Boulevard (Highway 56) in Smithville. The purchase price is $18,000 per acre for a total cost of about $441,000.

Although the board has the money to buy the land the allocation must be included in the 2020-21 school budget and adopted by the county commission this summer. The purchase is also subject to favorable core drilling and traffic study by the Tennessee Department of Transportation for which the school district will also have to bear the cost.

The property, adjacent to the Northside Elementary School campus, is owned by Dr’s Cripps, Rhody & Hooper, General Partnership. It was one of two sites considered by the board. The other is property owned by the Steve Colvert family also located near Northside Elementary.

A committee, appointed by Board Chairman Danny Parkerson and made up of fellow board members W.J. (Dub) Evins III and Doug Stephens along with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, recently met with the board’s architect Upland Design Group and their civil engineer to weigh the pros and cons of each site. The committee then met with the landowners to negotiate a price. Owners of both sites reduced their asking prices to $20,000 per acre for the Colvert property and $18,000 per acre for the Family Medical Center land. Aside from the purchase price, the committee and the architects and civil engineer felt the Family Medical Center site was more suitable than the Colvert land, a portion of which has some wetland issues. The Colvert property could also raise traffic congestion concerns with TDOT in that the site might have to be accessed through the existing Northside Elementary School entrance while a separate entrance could be established to the proposed new school on the Family Medical Center site.

During Thursday night’s meeting, Evins said the committee had settled on the Family Medical Center property and was recommending its purchase to the board. Evins made a motion to purchase the land, subject to approval of the core drilling, TDOT study, and the county commission adopting the school board budget including the funds for the land. Stephens offered a second to the motion. All seven board members voted in favor.

In other business the board voted to reject the one and only bid submitted last month for the Tiny House.

Jerry Alsup of Murfreesboro had bid $17,500 to purchase the Tiny House but that was well below the minimum bid of $22,600 established by the board which was the actual cost of construction.

In April the board tabled action on whether to award or reject the bid to give Brad Leach, DCHS Career and Technical Education Director, an opportunity to have some input.

The board had hoped to award a bid for the sale of the Tiny House during the regular monthly meeting in March but after a month of seeking sealed bids none were submitted. In March the board voted to extend the deadline for receiving sealed bids until the April meeting.

The Tiny House was recently completed by students in the DCHS Residential and Commercial Construction Class. It is located near the Vocational School.

DeKalb County Criminal Court To Resume May 19

May 7, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Criminal Court will resume on Tuesday, May 19.

According to Circuit Court Clerk Susan Martin, Judge Gary McKenzie will be conducting court and defendants scheduled for an appearance before the judge that day are to be present in-person. Social distancing practices will be observed during the proceedings and only a few people at a time will be permitted in the courtroom.

“We will have Circuit Criminal Court on May 19 at 9:00 a.m. in DeKalb County with Judge McKenzie. Everyone will need to enter through the east side (ramp side) of the Courthouse. We will be signing Defendants in and sending them back to their cars to await a phone call from my office telling them it’s time to come into the building. There will only be four defendants allowed in the courtroom at a time. I know this will put a strain on all of us but we will adjust accordingly. If you have any questions feel free to call me. I will also be sending out a letter from the Judge when I receive it,” said Martin.

For more information about how the proceedings are to be conducted that day or to make sure you are scheduled for an appearance call 615-597-5711 or visit and then click the courts and dockets link.


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