April 22, 2008

Historic Nolensville plans for new sewer

Historic downtown takes steps for sewer
The Tennessean, April 16, 2008

NOLENSVILLE — The historic district of Nolensville has grown a little quiet these days. A few buildings once occupied by shops and restaurants sit empty, and the foot traffic into the remaining businesses isn't what it once was.
The area is in need of a revival, which some residents hope will occur once antique signage and traffic signals go up. But those improvements might only decorate a deserted street if the town doesn't get sewer into the area.
"If we don't, we're going to be a ghost town," said Evelyn Bennett, owner of The Home Place Bed and Breakfast. "We have no sewer from about where the school is all the way past new Clovercroft Road. Three or four places have had to close. They're all having to close because they don't have sewage."
Many of the area's old septic systems aren't able to service the businesses anymore. To keep the area viable, the town is moving aggressively forward to bring Metro sewer lines to the historic district. It recently spent $10,000 to have the area surveyed, and the nonprofit Historic Nolensville Sewer Association is working to design this project.
"We now have the entire downtown historic district shot (for the survey)," said Jay Nelson, association president. "I actually spoke to two engineers, and they're going to come in on Thursday and talk about the actual design to try and accommodate everyone."
Revitalization awaitsThe intention is to design a sewer line that services businesses and homes on both sides of Nolensville Road, the key to revitalizing the area.
"I do think it's a valuable thing, not just for the economic development for the outside . . . but actually preserving the little downtown feel that Nolensville has," he said. "The reason I moved to Nolensville, I lived in Brentwood, was that downtown feel. I think it really has a lot of marketability."
Nelson has heard from prospective commercial businesses interested in moving to the area. But to get them here, they need sewer. Right now, however, it's a one-sided project, as the district isn't on the radar for Metro Water Services.
"I think we had some discussion when we extended the sewer trunk line a few years ago, but at this point, it looks like there's no plans to do any additional sewer extension into the Nolensville area," said Sonia Harvat, a spokeswoman for the water service.
Leiper's Fork likenedMetro sewer services many of Nolensville's residential developments, but the line has not crossed Mill Creek. If and when it does, area business owners like Darin Scheff think the historic buildings could attract businesses that give the area a character similar to Leiper's Fork. That's what he'd do with his building, Nolensville Feed Mill.
"If the sewer was here, I would already have my little sandwich or ice cream shop," he said. "The advantage (of sewer) for everybody is that, No. 1, nobody has to worry about old septic systems failing on them. It increases your property value. And the most important reason is that we can attract other businesses that want to come into town to rent and lease space."
The town is still a long way away from getting sewer to the area, but Nelson said it needs to be done to preserve the downtown.
"We don't want it to be a bunch of empty buildings down there. It doesn't look good," he said

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