BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (October 5) — The Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the purchase of one-dozen sets of turnout gear for the Dresden Fire Department, during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, which could be viewed by the public on YouTube Live. The only individuals present were city board members or employees.
According to Fire Chief Paul Hutcherson, the turnout gear, which consists of fire-resistant coats, pants and boots, costs $2,401.70 per set, for a total of $28,820.40.
However, Chief Hutcherson stated the turnout gear is being purchased through a 100-percent Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant from the State of Tennessee.
Several months ago, the board agreed to look into the possibility of installing a railroad caboose at an appropriate location, such as the old railroad station, as other Weakley County municipalities have done. Mayor Jeff Washburn announced CSX Railroad agreed to donate an old caboose to the City of Dresden for free. However, Mayor Washburn stated, since the caboose is not in good enough shape to be pulled from the East Tennessee town of Ooltewah, where it is now located, to Dresden on the tracks by railroad, it would have to be shipped on a flatbed tractor-trailer and installed at a site chosen by the Board. The cost of shipping and setting up the caboose is approximately $5,000.
Mayor Washburn explained the city would be responsible for providing the materials and labor for the project, including gravel, crossties and a short section of railroad track to set the caboose on.
After viewing a photograph of the caboose, Alderman Gwin Anderson stated it is not a typical example of what a caboose looks like. Additionally, it is in very poor condition and would require too much money and labor to restore it.
Alderman Kenneth Moore stated, just because other towns have acquired a caboose doesn’t mean Dresden has to do so. He said the money could be better spent on improving the city’s infrastructure.
For various reasons, including the transportation and the restoration costs required to restore the antique railroad car, the board agreed to explore other options for a caboose.
In other business, Mayor Washburn stated the City has hired Carl Stout to work on the Public Works Department. He said Stout will help fill the void left by the upcoming retirement of another Public Works employee.
Mayor Washburn also introduced Priscilla Price as the City’s Community Engagement Director. He stated she will work with area businesses to encourage commerce and economic development, as well as assisting with Dresden Farmers Market. Price will also work with others involved with the Tennessee Iris Festival in Dresden.
A request to have property owned by a local citizen de-annexed from the City of Dresden failed to receive board approval.
The high number of speeding tickets on Pikeview Street was another topic of discussion. Alderman Anderson stated the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit is too slow and suggested raising the speed limit to 40. He explained drivers tend to drive 15 miles per hour, which causes traffic congestion. The request does not include the intersection of Pikeview and Highway 22, which is a dangerous intersection. Mayor Washburn stated a sign reading “Dangerous Intersection Ahead” is being installed in an effort to avoid accidents.
Mayor Washburn mentioned a washout problem with a rusted-out culvert at Vaughan Brothers Hardware.
The next meeting of the Dresden City Board is Monday, November 9.