2013 IN REVIEW: County goes to bond market; WMC expands
While each of Williamson County's separate municipalities had its own top headlines in 2013, the county as a whole was a happening place as well. From going to the bond market seeking $110 million to fund schools, an expansion at Williamson Medical Center and to build a new public safety center to a record-breaking year at the Williamson County Fair, there are plenty of stories to chose from...
2013 in review:
Animal shelter gets new director, new direction
Personnel shifts at Williamson County Animal Control and Adoption Center this year meant some shifts in operations. New shelter director Laura Chavarria was appointed in June, and she boosts adoptions with monthly discounts and promotions.
Euthanasia rates have seen a decrease since June.
Debra Burch also joined staff in August as the in-house veterinarian and took the lead on the shelter’s initiative to spay/neuter all shelter animals.
County library launches publishing imprint
Throughout 2013, Williamson County Public Library affiliates have been working on a children’s book and announced upon its December release exciting news for local writers.
In keeping up with the evolving library world, the county library now has a publishing imprint called Academy Park Press and will begin accepting submissions next year.
County goes to bond market
The Williamson County Commission approved no small sum of $110 million to go to bond market this fall.
Of that, more than $15 million went toward Williamson County Schools.
Though some said the price was too high, the commission also approved about $26 million for new public safety facilities.
In November, Williamson Medical Center broke ground on the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Williamson Medical Center. A total of $65 million, half of which the county issued in bonds, will go toward the construction of a three-story tower to house a children’s unit and emergency room, as well as expand the existing surgical suites.
The county hospital partnered with Vanderbilt on the children’s hospital, and Vanderbilt will contract six or seven physicians to staff it.
- County goes to bond market with $110 million
- County appropriates funding across the departments
- Williamson Medical breaks ground on children’s hospital
Shifts in county offices
There were a couple shifts in county offices this year as General Sessions Judge Al Nations stepped down Sept. 30 and replaced by former County Commissioner Ernie Williams.
Williams agreed to finish Nations’ unexpired term but not run for the judgeship in next year’s election.
To fill Williams’ empty seat in district nine, Todd Keastner stepped up as interim commissioner. A VP of corporate development at Brookdale Senior Living, Keastner is an advocate for historic land preservation and plans to run next year for the commissioner’s seat.
Nolensville rec center designs complete
Designs were completed this year for the Williamson County Recreation Complex at Nolensville, to open by June or July 2014. The county and the town partnered to split the $5 million cost with some additional funding recently deemed necessary.
In December, county and town officials determined a need for adjustments to the Stonebrook Boulevard building and property to protect the future rec center from floodwater.
“We will be restructuring the flow of water away from the building, and water barrier devices will be installed at the doors,” Williamson County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hood said.
The adjustments will cost Williamson County and the town of Nolensville $650,000 collectively.
Next year’s finished product will feature a zero-entry outdoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, game room, senior activity room, classrooms and fitness studios in the 40,000-square-foot building that was formerly the Nolensville Elementary School.
- Floodwater prevention incorporated into rec center cost
- Plans almost complete for Nolensville rec center
County Fair deemed best ever
Williamson County Fair set a record this year with turnout, revenue and all-around success. The fair was held Aug. 2 through 10, and 1,500 people volunteered.
Total revenues including those from the gate, midway and sponsorships were up 20 percent from last year, fair chairman and county Mayor Rogers Anderson told the Home Page.
Performances from Elvis tribute artists Shawn Klush and Cody Ray Slaughter as well as the Blackwood Quartet drew a record 1,200 to the arena, with visitors coming from as far as Texas.
Over 6,200 pounds of canned goods to benefit GraceWorks Ministries Food Pantry came through the fair’s “Pay It Forward Monday” where guests earned free entry to the fair with the donation of two canned goods.
Williamson County will commemorate its fair’s 10th anniversary in 2014.