City Streets: Part 2 in a Series

By Becky Jane Newbold,


IMG_4003 copyHohenwald’s city streets

have seen a facelift during 2018,

smoothing over nearly a decade

of disruptions during replacements

of water mains and infrastructure

leak repairs.

Under the watchful eye of Utilities

Operations Manager Bobby

McCann and Mayor Danny Mc-

Knight, Tennessee Valley Paving

fi nished a job begun in 2017 to pave

approximately 30 streets plus the

city parking lot. As an added bonus,

city leaders negotiated with

Tennessee Valley Paving to also

include the walking track and the

tennis courts at Memorial Park in

this year’s project, just in time for

the Hope Hohenwald’s ice skating

rink set up on the tennis courts

during Christmas in Hohenwald.

Rogers Group started the paving

in 2017, but were dismissed

from the project by the mayor

when the quality of the work was

not up to standards. “The Lot was

paved by flashlight,” McCann explained

during our interview,

which is evidenced by patchwork

in some areas. Other problem areas

along city streets were noted.

A capital outlay note in the

amount of $850,000 approved by

the Hohenwald City Council funded

paving. Invoices paid in March

and May of this year to Rogers

Group totaled $579,000. Tennessee

Valley Paving was paid a total

of $379,396 by November 29, 2018.

According to City Recorder Kyle

Hamm, the overage was included

in the current year’s budget to be

paid from the general fund.

Work on the paving appeared

to “skip around town” several

times. Mr. McCann explained

water line repairs were all completed

before each street slated

for paving could be completed. A

total of seven miles were paved

with work finishing in late 2018.

“The Tennessee Valley Paving

bunch as been great, not only

to work with,” Mayor McKnight

stated in an interview earlier this

year, “but the professionalism has

been more than expected. They

went above and beyond to deliver

quality work.” He declined comment

on Rogers Group.

In total, the City of Hohenwald

has 31 miles of streets that

are maintained by the utility department.

Add to that 35 miles

of sewer lines and 708 manholes

and the department has their

work cut out for them.

Street Department employees

include Jim Williams, Corbet

Moody and Terry Barnes.

Weekly duties for Street Department

employees include hauling

brush, repairing pot holes, street

sign maintenance, cleaning out

sewers, laying sewer lines and

other duties that may arise. The

men also hang all the Christmas

decor at the holidays, seasonal

banners during the year, as well

as close streets and distribute

trash cans for festivals, such as

Oktober Heritage Festival.

“Christmas in Hohenwald

is a year long project,” McCann

stated. This year, crews have

repainted decorations, rewired

lights and replaced fixtures with

LED bulbs in the decorations

that were originally purchased

in the mid-1980s.

“The mayor has had us widen

Elm Street and Mill Street, plant

trees and shrubs downtown, and

has been adamant about restricting

tractor trailers from city

streets,” McCann reported.

They have also contracted

with Lewis County to apply tar

and chip on Airport Road, Commerce

Drive and Happy Hollow

Road. When traffic lights were

converted to LED this year, the

Street Department was on hand

to help.

McCann oversees all Public

Works which includes Sanitation.

Annually, 200 trash cans are

replaced due to cracking, fading

or damage. The average life of

one can is 10 years. Each home

or property is issued one with a

serial number associated with

the address.

Three garbage trucks are

owned by the city with two running

weekly routes. One truck

holds 16 yards, the other 18 yards

of refuse from residential and

commercial routes. Residential

routes are run four times per

week and take about seven hours

each. Commercial routes are

run five days weekly and average

five hours, McCann stated.

The Sanitation Department

employs Randy Hill, Charles

Cross, Kenny Davis, Billy Meek,

James Owens and Randy Norwood.

Additionally, Jeff Dye

manages the spray fields for the

sewer plant, McCann stated, and

Jared Long maintains the fleet

of trucks.

Under Mayor McKnight’s

leadership, the City has purchased

a new garbage truck, a

new backhoe and two new snow

plows for four wheel drive pick

ups, McCann reported. “The

mayor has helped us a lot after

he came in.”

Bobby McCann is a native of

Ridgely who explained he quit

school at age 13 and moved to

Lewis County. His father’s family

was here, he said, and when he

moved here, he worked in the log

woods, later obtaining his GED

high school equivalence.

A dream to become a air traffic controller was never realized

due to his choice to quit school,

he said. A hobby of flying remote

control planes and helping

with a drone owned by the City

will have to suffice his aspirations

for the air.

The drone is used for photography

of special events and

check water tanks, spray fields

and other city sites.

Another task City employees

have undertaken this year is the

pressure washing of city sidewalks.

The job began in June,

but an equipment breakdown

halted the task until repairs

were made.

McCann first worked for the

City of Hohenwald in 1983 under

then Mayor Guy Nicholson. “It’s

been my life ever since,” he commented.

He retired four and one-half

years ago under Mayor Johnny

Clayton and was called back into

service part time a few years ago

by Mayor McKnight.

McCann says he donated

over five hundred hours to the

City las year and more than 300

the year before. “It’s me. I want

to be involved, helping Danny,”

McCann explained.

“I love working for the city. I

love the people, love the town. I

like helping people.”

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