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Bridge name is approved

Patterson to be memorialized

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 1/15/22

Bedford County Commission voted Tuesday to approve the bridge naming request done in memory of the late commissioner Jimmy Patterson, who died Sept. 19, 2020.  

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Bridge name is approved

Patterson to be memorialized


Bedford County Commission voted Tuesday to approve the bridge naming request done in memory of the late commissioner Jimmy Patterson, who died Sept. 19, 2020.  

Commissioner Jason Sanders, who took Patterson’s place after his passing, led the initiative to get the bridge, located at the 1500 block of Unionville-Deason Road, named after the late community leader, who passed.  

“I just think it’s a respectful thing for Mr. Patterson,” said Sanders. The bridge naming discussion has been going on for several months with questions arising as to whether Patterson met the qualification for the naming. With over 25 signatures collected, many citizens of the community responded positively in favor of the Patterson bridge naming.  

In addition to serving on the Bedford County Commission for 13 ½ years, Patterson was a U.S. Marine veteran, a Mason member for 60 years, an active member at Blankenship United Methodist Church, and part of the Community Lions Club for 14 years.  

“We just want to make sure that we can’t just do it for whoever. I think it should set forth a path to make sure we do it the exact same for everybody,” said Sanders. 

The request was unanimously voted through.  

Sidewalks and body cams  

The commission also voted to approve the City of Shelbyville’s request for $100,000 to assist with the completion of streetlight installment around the Bedford County Courthouse. This is part of the City’s downtown sidewalk project, which will be completed by April, according to city manager Joshua Ray.  

“As part of this project, the City is planning to remove the lights that are located around the inner square and to replace those poles with poles that match the outer square lights. Our plan is to complete this step during the sidewalk renovation project such that we do not create any additional interference with our downtown business and patrons,” wrote Ray in a letter to Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham.  

As explained at Tuesday night’s meeting, the County’s funds for this project will come from the selling of the Harris Middle School gymnasium, which was sold to Gary King for $200,000 (but has not been closed yet), according to County finance director Robert Daniel.  

“Certainly, there will be no tax increase to pay for this,” said Commissioner and mayor pro tem P.T. “Biff” Farrar, who was standing in for Mayor Chad Graham.  

Bedford County Sheriff’s Office will receive a new bodycam system called WatchGuard video by Motorola Solutions, costing just under $97,000.  


County Clerk Donna Thomas said Bedford’s revenue has increased by five percent over last year. In that revenue is the County’s new hotel/ motel tax, which brought in $15,777, according to Thomas. She estimated that about half of that tax comes from AirBnBs.  

Thomas also added a note about the new Tennessee driver’s license plates. The large amount of metal that has to be distributed has put a burden on the state, so Thomas reminded people to wait until their tag’s renewal before asking for the new license plate.  


Bedford County Director of Schools Tammy Garrett reported that they now have a signed contract for the new wing at Community High School.  

“We continue to be excited about the new wing. We look forward to what new opportunities we will be able to provide our students,” Community High Principal Robert Ralston told the T-G.  

Garrett said during her report that they closed on the land for the new elementary school located behind Marelli near the 437 Bypass.  

In addition to the new school, Garrett said they are working on performing much needed maintenance for current schools. The long-term plans will be presented to the school board in a work session on Monday, Jan. 24.  

“We will really have to work through with the architect what the numbers associated with that will be,” Garrett said.  

BCS was also awarded $250,000 for spending the federal ESSER grants as intended.  


Bedford’s population has increased and the demand for housing follows suit, according to Register of Deeds Johnny Reed. They have recorded 195 more documents this quarter than this time last year and have collected $75,000 more than last year.  

“We’re still booming, and people are just begging for new homes to come into Shelbyville,” said Reed.  

To make way for growth, highway superintendent Mark Clanton said during his report that plans are underway for road construction in Bedford. For example, New Center Church Road will be repaved in the spring.  

This is an expensive project as the 5-year paving plan will cost around $9 million. But that is only a tenth of the roads that need to be repaved, according to Clanton. Bedford County was awarded a $250,000 TDOT safety grant to redo some roads, like Nashville Dirt Road, Midland Road, Old Flat Creek Road, and Unionville-Deason Road.  

For the solid waste department, tonnage has gone up by 25 percent since last year, according to Clanton. New compactors have been installed in Wartrace, Wheel, and Unionville.  

Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership  

Director Shane Hooper of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership — an organization created last March to serve as the communication between local industry and education — highlighted the partnership’s year’s accomplishments and goals.  

The group added another phase to the State Industrial Access (SIA) grant of the 231 North Business Park, raising the project award from $4.6 million to $5.5 million.  

“That adds another million dollars of investment to County’s infrastructure without any cost to the County,” said Hooper. That is, another section to it so that 100 percent of road access for the industrial park will be done with the grant.  

Namely, the partnership, which also includes Kelly North and Beth Davis, helped to secure a $260,000 grant to build a medical-simulation lab at Community High School.  

“We already have exciting news with the grant to help outfit a modern health care preparation program as we are seeing a growing interest in the health service field among our students. The grant should coincide with the completion date which has been for the opening of the 2023-2024 school year,” said Ralston.  

They also secured a $1 million grant from the state to put in sewer on the 231 North Business Park, which will be breaking ground this spring.  

Hooper provided a brief rundown of upcoming events, including high school job fairs for graduating seniors, local industry round tables, small business development seminars, and CEO networking opportunities.  

“I want to be very clear about something: yes, it is important to bring new businesses to Shelbyville and Bedford, but it is also equally important to make sure we take care of the ones who are already here. Those businesses and those ladies and gentlemen and citizens of Bedford County are already invested in our community...so we have to take care of them,” Hooper said.