By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

“Transitioning” is the current status of Trousdale County, according to County Mayor Stephen Chambers.

The mayor gave the annual State of the County address during the March 10 Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“It’s probably going to be the same for the next few years; the county is in a state of transition,” Chambers said. “Being this close to a major metropolitan area, we are going to be looking at a lot of change and transition.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
County Mayor Stephen Chambers speaks during last week’s Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Growth is continuing across the county, from the western end along Highway 231 to the Hartsville city limits to the eastern end of the county.

“We’re getting a lot of development in the county. Along with that comes a lot of issues you’re going to have to deal with,” he said.

Emergency preparedness was an area Chambers said he wanted to work on in the future, especially on the heels of recent tornadoes that damaged nearby communities.

The mayor said he wanted to grow a base of local volunteers and organizations that could respond in the case of a disaster in Trousdale County.

Chambers also addressed the ongoing Streetscape project on Main Street. In addition to reworking the sidewalks, the project has provided an opportunity to replace sewer lines that date back to the 1960s.

“They’re taking the opportunity while the sidewalks are out to go ahead and replace water and sewer lines and improve service to that area,” he said.

The master plan for Hartsville City Park was also discussed, with Chambers noting that even if everything on the plan were implemented it would be a 15- to 20-year process.

The master plan was put together and released last month, utilizing grant funds received from the state.

“The price tag is over $11 million… We need to keep in mind, this is something that’s not going to be done overnight but in phases,” he said.

Chambers also spoke on potential future projects in Trousdale County that could be necessitated by continued growth.

According to the mayor, the county’s population could grow by another 400 to 500 people by 2023. The 2020 census is expected to put the county’s population over 11,000, based on the most recent estimate.

Improvements at the intersection of Highways 25 and 231 will likely be needed.

“Is the capacity of our roads going to handle the projected increase… If you get that many residents, you can expect that many cars,” Chambers said.

The mayor also touched on the prospect of a new jail, something that county commissioners have looked at in recent meetings. Overcrowding at the current jail could force Trousdale County into a corrective plan of action.

The increased county population will likely also require Trousdale County to come up with a plan to mitigate flooding and require other regulatory actions.

Revitalizing the downtown area and bringing retail to Hartsville is another focus of county government, but the mayor called it “an uphill battle.”

“There are ways we can try to incentivize (owners) to revitalize their buildings,” he said. “Then we can market the downtown area to anyone who’s looking…

“We must develop commercial and industrial… I think we’re on the verge of being able to have some of these things.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]