Athens Mayor Steve Patterson, far right, speaks to attendees of a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Athens Community Center

Mayor Talks Pool, East State Interchange During Year-In-Review

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In a town hall meeting Tuesday night, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson reflected on his first year in office, and brought to the community ideas for the new year.

“We’re talking about what we can expect to see in 2017 and beyond,” Patterson said.

In addition to talking about the city obtaining a AA2 credit rating, he thanked the public for the 0.2 percent income tax increase and praised the city’s progress with accessibility.

Patterson gave an update on the upcoming municipal pool construction and West Union Street. He also brought his staff to talk about construction to make a new interchange at East State Street and US Route 33.

City Engineer and Director of Public Works Andy Stone said the new interchange is still in it’s early phases the window for construction of the new interchange is Fall 2017 through Summer 2018.

“We wanted to do it when school’s weren’t in session,” Stone said.

The construction will include repaving of the street.

West Union Street will include a sidewalk that is four-feet wider, and will not have the parking meters prevalent around the city. A ParkMobile kiosk will be placed on the road.

“We want to start construction in March,” Patterson said, adding that construction should run through July.

A member of the public asked about a discussion among city officials to enforce parking meters until 10 p.m. While Patterson said the discussion had happened and was talked about as a way to stimulate city business and promote more turnover of customers in restaurants, nothing has been decided.

“We haven’t landed anywhere yet,” the mayor said.

As for the pool, a final plan for construction is set to be completed next month, but this summer’s plan for the pool is up in the air.

“We plan to be open as usual, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Patterson said.

Members of the general contracting and design team for the pool, MSA Sports, had previously said they did not think the current pool would last through another summer.

Patterson was also asked about the Athens City Schools Facilities plan, for which he is a part of the Steering Committee, but not a part of the final decision-making.

“My mission is to fight to protect the schools,” Patterson said. He added that he believed that restructuring could happen without the loss of schools in the area.

In a public meeting with the Steering Committee, three plans were presented to the public. All three of the plans included moving middle school operations to a “location near (Athens High School).”

Patterson also told the public at the town hall meeting that the city is in the process of re-establishing a non-profit to act as a fiscal agent for a proposed Special Improvement District in uptown Athens.