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Ladd Greenway situation debated

By Mike Gibson

Whether work crews at Ladd Landing have made progress toward finishing the greenway project before a June 30 deadline has apparently come down to a matter of opinion.

At a June 4 Kingston City Council work session, the opinion of the engineer overseeing the project seemed at odds with those of councilmen.

Lead engineer Danl Hall of Vaughn and Melton reported, “It looks like it’s pretty much done,” save for some clean-up, some leftover concerns by public works director Tim Clark and parks and recreation director Rick Ross, and a final inspection by the Tennessee Department of Transportation on June 14.

Hall’s optimism was not shared by others.

“If you’re going to get all of it done in three weeks, you’re going to have to get someone out there and out there working hard,” said Councilman Norm Sugarman. “Because I was out there today, and there wasn’t a soul out there.”

Councilman Don White added, “I can’t see from the time I went two weeks ago to now that much has been done. And every time I go down there, there’s no one down there … There was a man on a Caterpillar one time, and he was pretty well relaxed. Is it a one-man band down there?

Because we’re not going to accept it if it’s not done right.”

In addition to concerns over what council perceives as lengthy delays—the project was originally supposed to be finished some months back—there are also concerns over aspects of the project that either may not have been done correctly, or even been done at all.

Some of Ross’ and Clark’s concerns include drainage issues, shoulder integrity along the walking trails, lack of mileage or directional signs, lack of a transition area for walkers, premature wear already showing in asphalt, unfinished cleanup, and a lack of water stations on the trail.

If the project is not finished by June 30, the city will have to extend a bank loan which has been paying for the project, a move the city would like to avoid.

Kingston Mayor Troy Beets said later that Clark and Ross did a walk-through at Ladd with contractors on June 6 and had a “productive meeting. Everybody came away with a clearer view of what needs to be done. It seems like we weren’t on the same page before, and that helped.”

As to finishing the project in the allotted time, Beets said: “I’m a glass-half-full guy. When the state comes on June 14, I’m hoping their to-do’s will be doable in about a week. I’m cautiously optimistic.”