MT. JULIET -- In one of its shortest meetings in recent history, 26 minutes start to finish, the Mt. Juliet City Commission agreed Monday night to change the name of the so-called First Amendment area in Charlie Daniels Park and in front of the new Police Headquarters to the Political Impact Zone.
District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice said he requested the name change because he thought the old name implied that citizens were only allowed to practice their First Amendment rights in that area, when in fact the First Amendment applies all over the city and state.
Amendments to the First Amendment-area ordinance, which originally was enacted in 2012, were passed 4-1 on July 14, with Justice casting the sole dissenting vote. But then the second reading of the amendments was deferred when they came up again on July 28.
The amendments, which will now take effect as passed by the City Commission Monday night under the new Political Impact Zone name, will not allow unoccupied vehicles with political signs to be parked in the Farmer’s Market lot at Charlie Daniels Park or in the Mt. Juliet Police parking lot.
The amendments also prohibit unoccupied, signed vehicles from being parked in the first four spaces on either side of the road entering the park.
The amended ordinance does allow two signs per candidate to be placed in the Political Impact Zone and two signs on vehicles parked in other areas of the park. The signs must be placed an hour before the polls open and removed within an hour after polls close, and no signs are allowed to remain in the park overnight.
Justice and District 3 Commissioner Art Giles both had special event announcements to make Monday night as well. First, Justice announced the “reincarnation of the Mt. Juliet Bluegrass Festival.”
The event, which is being sponsored by the North Mt. Juliet Business Council and the Mt. Juliet-West Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Charlie Daniels Park, Justice said.
“We’re calling it the Mt. Juliet Bluegrass Picnic,” he said. “Lester Sears and Tennessee Border band will be performing. There will be free food and vendors in the park from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.”
He added that the committee hopes to recruit more musicians and vendors. If anyone wants to volunteer to play or help, they can call Justice at 615-856-1604. Artists and crafts vendors should email Karen Hedges at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Shiloh Music at 615-758-9437 for more information.
Giles likewise changed hats to speaking as the chair of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). He said the committee is going to sponsor a BPAC Walk, Run and Roll 5K event on Sunday, Sept. 21, starting at 4 p.m. at Mundy Park.
The 5K’s running loop will include Mt. Juliet Fire Station 1 on Belinda Parkway where there will be refreshments, water and tours of the new firehouse.
The walkers, runners and riders will then return to the park. Giles added that BPAC is setting up a web page with a calendar of local events for walkers, runners and bicycle riders.
The site should be up sometime Tuesday at www.mjbpac.org, Giles said.
In other action, the City Commission:
Approved the disposal of all material resulting from the demolition of Planet Playground at Charlie Daniels Park to make room for new playground equipment.
Passed a resolution in support of a Fasttrack infrastructure program requested by the State of Tennessee.
Approved, on second reading, the rezoning from Residential Single-Family (RS-40) to Commercial Town Center (CTC) of 1.3 acres owned by Walter Fuqua and Jennifer Perry at the corner of North Mt. Juliet Road and Cross Drive.
All the commission’s votes Monday night were unanimous, but they were all 4-0. That’s because District 4 Commissioner Jim Bradshaw had to be absent to attend his last meeting representing Mt. Juliet on the Wilson County Commission, since he did not seek re-election to that board in order to remain on the City Commission.
Correspondent Connie Esh may be contacted at email@example.com.