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Sparta Moves Forward On Updating Historic District Guidelines

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Sparta Moves Forward On Updating Historic District Guidelines

The Sparta Board of Aldermen unanimously voted Thursday to solicit proposals to update design guidelines for the historic district.

A work session was held prior to the board’s consideration with members of the Historic Zoning Commission. Chair Kim Griffin called the move, “Necessary,” to preserve the downtown area.

“We got a small town feel,” Griffin said. “Places like Nashville and even places like Franklin so close to Nashville they don’t have quite what we have. We got this quaint, small-town America feel, and we want to preserve it because if we are not careful, it will be knocked down and we will not have it anymore.”

Griffin said the codes have not been updated for almost 27 years. Griffin said the impacts of the outdated guidelines have already started to arise with the character of historic buildings changing.

“Most of our community, we don’t have any guidelines,” Griffin said. “You’re starting to see the flashing light signs up and down the streets.”

A $20,000 grant will cover the cost with Sparta contributing $8,000. During the work session, Alderman Jerry Lowery said he would rather see that money go straight to the business owners and use neighboring city’s guidelines as a model for Sparta.

“Why are we going to spend tax payer’s dollars for things that we can already get and suit it for ourselves?” Lowery said. “I guess that is my questions right now. Is this needed to spend this tax payer’s dollars when we’ve already got something in place and we can upgrade it our own without spending all that money and maybe give the money to the businesses instead of a business out of town.”

Mayor Jeff Young said the state will not allow Sparta to give money directly to businesses. At the same time, Young said the updated codes would need to be made by a professional so the new guidelines legally stand.

Young said the upgrade in regulations also needed for Sparta to maintain its certified local government title.


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