2009 began millions of dollars in improvements for Clay County

By RAY NORRIS, Executive Director Clay County Chamber

History will prove that the year of 2009 was the beginning of an era of significant improvements that will benefit all residents of Clay County even though we were in a recession.  
Highways and Roads
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) let the contract this past summer to replace the extremely narrow bridge over Proctor Creek just past the new Clay County High School as well as providing a new, wider and straight road from the new bridge to the base of Walker Hill.  
The work has already begun and each week’s progress gives us a hint of what the finished product will provide all who travel here.  This project is scheduled to be completed in December of 2010 at a total cost of $5,142,197.39.  
No dollar amount can be assigned to the potential value of lives saved or injuries prevented as a result of completing this project.  
The Corridor J project is underway in Clay County with the very recent letting of a $30,805,076.89 contract for one phase (Two phases total).  A second and final phase contract letting, scheduled for May of 2010 and likely to be another $30 million will complete the project by yearend 2012.  
This project will provide a new and improved four lane Highway #52 from the Overton County line into Celina next to the Cumberland River Hospital and meeting up with Brown Street.  
You may recall the difficulty encountered with the pyrite veins discovered two years ago with the initial routes planned for the roadway.  The redefined route will not be cut as deeply into the hillsides in order to avoid the pyrite problem.    
Mayor Reagan and I have met with the contractors for the Proctor Creek project and the first phase of the Corridor J project to emphasize our willingness to assist them in hiring Clay County residents during the life of each project.  
Both contractors have indicated that they will indeed hire locals as the projects develop.  We will also meet with the contractor in May 2010 right after the bid is let for the final phase of Corridor J.  As further details of jobs become available the press will be notified. 
Earlier this year TDOT repaved Brown Street from Highway 53 through town to the bridge over the Cumberland River as well as around the square.  
With the repaving and remarking the roadway this has providing a more inviting and safer drive into Celina as well as fixing several low areas in the road bed that accumulated water after a rain.  The project cost was in excess of $1 million.
The improvements noted above will provide new areas for economic development as the new route of Highway 52 from the Overton County line into Celina will invite retail business to settle along the much improved route just as it has happened in many counties and cities all over the country following significant roadway improvements. 
Electric Power
The Tri-County Electric has three projects in process. Bakerton Road Project Convert 0.6 miles of single phase to three phase to improve power quality and reliability.  Gainesboro Road Convert 6.2 miles of three phase single circuit to three phase double circuit and upgrade conductor size for improved power quality, reliability and capacity.  
This will improve the quality of service and reliability to the new and existing customers in the Gainesboro Road areas and provide additional capacity and improved power quality to the industrial park.  
Celina Substation Upgrade existing substation by replacing circuit breakers and control house and installing solid state metering and protective relaying.  This project will improve operability of equipment in the substation and increase reliability to all areas east of the Cumberland River served by this station.  These three projects will be completed at a cost of $586,500.     
Water & Sewer
The residents on Clifton Rich Road are waiting for the soon to be constructed extension of water service beyond where the initial pipeline was constructed years ago.  
The county and city governments as well as the Clifton Rich Road residents worked together to obtain a grant $300,000 for the project.  Completion is scheduled by Spring of 2010. 
Another water project in process is to replace water lines on three streets in Celina, Williamson, MacMillan and Washington.  The cost of improvements, $500,000 was funded by a grant.
A sewer project conducted by Clary Construction of Tompkinsville at a cost of $379,884 replaced many sewer lines in Celina.
3 Star Certification
Earlier this year Clay County was certified as a 3 Star Tennessee county, a distinction shared with ninety other counties in the state.  
A financial benefit from attaining 3 Star status is a 3% savings to the city or the county on many of grants that we apply for that requires a matching portion.  This is already saving Celina and Clay County thousands of dollars. 
Two new ambulances were purchased for Clay County via a grant.   The ambulances were delivered in mid December and will provide all Clay County residents with emergency medical aid using state of the art safety and medical equipment in life saving situations.
A new 5,000 square foot, $500,000 facility is scheduled to be completed by mid year on Williamson Street to house the Clay County Head Start operation which is currently located in the Community Center.  
Once the move is completed the county will progress with the construction of an addition to the Community Center for a complete ADA compliant court facility.