BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (November 12) — Gleason Board members received an update regarding negotiations with BAM-2 bringing new jobs to the city.
BAM-2, which stands for “Born Again Men, Building Amazing Ministries” currently operates its business in Gleason. The firm provides the water and wastewater equipment needs of municipalities, which includes routine maintenance to diagnosing and servicing water/wastewater systemwide issues.
According to Weakley County Joint Economic Development Director Shelby Spurgeon, BAM-2 is looking for a larger building, and has received offers from other municipalities attempting to lure them to relocate in their towns by offering incentives.
Spurgeon stated she has been working with BAM-2 for a couple of months and everything is still in the negotiation stage at present. Spurgeon stated she has spoken with TVA and the State of Tennessee to obtain incentive grants. Spurgeon stated the location of the proposed BAM-2 building is still being worked out. “Would this board and the city be open to entertaining an offer from BAM-2,” Spurgeon asked.
“We’d be very open and we’d like BAM-2 to stay,” Alderman Jim Phelps said.
Spurgeon stated she would have more information to present to the board at next month’s meeting.
She explained a contract through the state would guarantee BAM-2 officials would bring the number of jobs they say they will, which amounts to 30 or more new jobs, in addition to the workers already operating out of the current Gleason facility.
“Have they made an offer?” Alderman Doug Johnson asked.
“It’s important that we keep those jobs here,” Mayor Poole added.
Alderman Johnson stated, instead of just improving and widening the single-lane road to a property being considered, it might require constructing a two-lane road.
The board approved a motion to move forward with developing an incentives package to keep BAM-2 in Gleason.
Future decisions will be made by new board members, who will be sworn into at 6:30 p.m. December 7, in Gleason’s Community Room. Their first official board meeting is Thursday, December 10, starting at 7 p.m.
Sewer Camera & Water Quality Award
The City of Gleason recently received a new sewer camera, which proved to be highly successful in locating broken pipes and obstructions in order for repairs of problem areas . Without a sewer camera, it’s guesswork in finding the blockages.
According to Water Department Supervisor Tony Terrell, Gleason received a closed-circuit sewer camera, costing $40,000. The device was paid for through a CDBG grant, which provided $37,200 of the cost, leaving the city to pay the remaining $2,800.
Terrell stated his department operates the camera. “It’s just amazing how we can drop it in a sewer pipe and let it take off. It views and records everything 360 degrees – frontward and backwards. We can get a good look at what’s on the inside and find cracks, root-balls and horses tails. Some of those root-balls can start in a small crack and keep growing. We found a root-ball in an eight-inch sewer pipe on East Grove Road, one day this week, and was eight-inches in diameter and approximately three feet long. All of these things cause backflows. Monday morning our contractor will be in town and we’ll start doing work.”
According to City Recorder Angela Hunt, a $239,000 CDBG grant made the purchase of the sewer camera and other repairs associated with the sewer system possible, by providing the majority of the funding.
Terrell mentioned a contractor is going to install “cured-in place pipe” during the third week of November, which involves placing “blown-in” vinyl pipes inside of a cast-iron pipe. The vinyl pipes eliminate cracks and stops leaks. Then, a machine travels inside the new pipes and cuts the sewer taps.
This method is much cheaper and quicker than digging up the streets in order to find and remove the old cast-iron pipes, and then, installing new plastic pipes.
According to Terrell, people flushing grease and disposable wipes down the toilets are causing serious and expensive problems for the city. He said, “We had a backup in the wet well at the sewage lagoon, which is 14-feet deep and eight-feet across. I had a mat of disposable wipes four-feet deep and eight-feet wide, and we couldn’t break them up. I had to hire a company to come and break it up and suck it out at a cost of $225 per hour.”
Additionally, Terrell informed the board Gleason Water Department received the 2019 Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The award reads, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commends this water system for its consistent and professional adjustment of the fluoride content to the recommended level for oral health for 12 consecutive months in 2019. High quality water fluoridation, as demonstrated by this water system, is a safe and effective method to prevent tooth decay and improve the oral health of all community residents.”
Terrell said, “They don’t hand these out liberally. Tennessee was one of 29 states and Gleason was one of 59 towns in the state that got this award.”
Historic Caboose Restoration
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee President Charles Anderson gave an update on the status of the caboose restoration. He said, “It’s all been done with volunteer work and donated money.” Anderson reported the exterior of the old caboose was painted earlier that week with locally-purchased paint from Gleason Lumber Company. He stated Chares McAbee of Custom Car Car sprayed the final gloss coat on it. Other volunteers assisting in painting the caboose were Mike Howell and Sons, Gary Owen, Cruz Legens, and Charles and Rose Anderson. “Allison Bowere will paint the graphics on it pretty soon that read, ‘Historic Gleason, Tennessee – Established 1903’,” Anderson said. “The window glass will be installed Saturday.” He added Emery Ceramics placed the caboose at its new home in downtown Gleason, which is located near the railroad tracks. He noted West Kentucky & Tennessee Railroad (WK&T) provided the section of railroad track on which it rests.
In other department reports, Police Chief Paul Eddlemon said, “We had a good night on Halloween; we had a good turnout. Everything went smoothly and everybody was safe.”
Deputy Fire Chief Mark Stafford reported during the month of October, Gleason Fire Department responded to two vehicle fires, a motor vehicle accident, and an outside fire. Gleason firefighters also established two landing zones (LZs) for medical helicopters, and received training on search-and-rescue operations.
In the Parks and Recreation report, Mayor Poole said, “The playground equipment order has been submitted and is on their calendar and should be delivered any day now.”
According to Public Works Director Rodney Garner, the site where the playground equipment is to be located is cleared and ready.