Specifically, the lease agreement states in item four that the City of Lebanon "shall be allowed to make the following improvements on the parking lot property: The property may be paved and modified to improve parking conditions, and Lessee shall be allow to construct, at its own cost, public restrooms and a small building for a visitors' center on the property."
He and Hutto agreed that for the City to do anything else with the site it would have to come back to the County Commission for approval.
The lease on the property is for 25 years with an ending date of Aug. 31, 2023.
"I'm certainly not opposed to the City making improvements to the Public Square, but I do recognize that what is now a public parking lot is property that is owned by the County. I just want to make sure that this property is not damaged and that the County is protected," Keith said.
Hutto said he has had a discussion with Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead about the property and the issue with respect to the County owning the site. Hutto said he told Craighead that the County would have to be involved if the use of the property was to change from what it is now.
Keith said he had spoken with the City of Lebanon Planning Department and was told that there are no firm plans in place at the time for what might be done on the Square.
"I was basically told that as it is now there is only a concept and no actual plan in place," Keith said.
The discussion about reshaping the Square's appearance and traffic patterns began several weeks ago following a visit by the Tennessee Department of Transportation which at the time indicated that a grant would be available for the project and that the City would sustain little if any costs.
Lebanon Planning Director Will Hager said that TDOT is not looking at the county property around the Square in their changes to the traffic roundabout.
He said TDOT is looking to move the parking lot in the center of the Square and making that area a roundabout. He said the plan was to reduce the number of conflicts with vehicles and pedestrians.
We do not have the final TDOT plan right now and we hope to get that in the next couple of weeks, Hager said.
Sue Vanatta, president and CEO of the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce, said she had polled every merchant and attorney on the Square and said there wasnt a single negative comment about changing the traffic pattern there.
Chairman and Publisher Sam Hatcher may be contacted at email@example.com.