Funding for proposed park in Cheatham County

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At a recent commission business development committee meeting, leaders were told it could cost anywhere from $18 million to $32 million to build everything that is part of a preliminary concept plan.

At Tuesday’s workshop, much of the discussion centered on how to fund the possible long-term project, which would be done in phases and over the course of many years as money is available.

Officials have discussed applying for state grants to help fund the project, but the county would need to consider other revenue sources if the project takes shape.

One idea was raising the county’s wheel tax by up to $25 to help fund the project. The current rate is $75.

With an estimated 45,000 vehicles in the county, officials say they could raise about an additional $1.1 million annually with the wheel tax increase.

“I have talked with many people about this project, and I have yet to find anyone who is opposed to it,” said Commissioner Gary Binkley.

Commissioners said they know it will cost the county money to develop and maintain the park, but the county will also reap the benefits in sales tax revenue and other possible growth.

“There could be a snowball effect. Residential and business growth could come as well,” Binkley said.

If the county decided to pursue a wheel tax increase, the public could challenge it with a referendum after the resolution was approved twice by the commission by a two-thirds vote.

At Tuesday’s workshop, it was discussed whether the county should put the wheel tax hike vote to a referendum so they would know if residents supported a wheel tax increase and possible park project.

If residents supported the increase, the county could then move forward. If not, then the county would have to pursue other funding sources or determine what to do next.

Commissioner Dale McCarver said if the referendum went to a vote, the key to getting it approved would be to get the majority of people to buy into the park and how the county could benefit from it.

Also at the workshop, the commission briefly discussed what role Ashland City would play when it comes to funding the project, but no decisions were made.

Posted on 09/09/16