Out just west of Gallatin, you’ll find miles and miles of mostly uninhabited countryside.
But a battle is brewing over a new sewer line, and many believe their country oasis may be at stake.
We first met with Deborah Holmes and neighbors in May, shortly after they received two offers from the county.
One would pay for an easement on an underground sewer. The second payment for a paved greenway serving as an access road. The road would follow the sewer and slice through Holmes’ and other’s backyards.
“But it’s our property, we bought this to be our park,” she explained in May. “What we care about is people walking in our backyard.”
The sewer will connect to the new Liberty Creek School that will be nearby, desperately needed with a rising school population. While greenway plans have been removed, the battle over the sewer and an access road continues.
Dr. Del Phillips III, Director of Sumner County Schools, updated council members last month on Liberty Creek’s status.
“What does this do in regards to the school? It’s gonna delay the school,” he explained. “There’s not a question in that.”
Liberty Creek was originally set to open in 2021, but the opening day now appears to be pushed back. School officials say the delay is due, in part, to the process of designing the project and the on-going sewer saga.
“I do believe they are trying to make us the scapegoat for that,” Holmes noted.
For Holmes and her neighbors, it’s about property rights. Many believe this move by the county could mean more development near their country homes.
“The thing is, if we wanted to live in the city, we wouldn’t have moved here from the city,” Holmes said. “So if there’s any way for us to protect, even if is just a small area, then that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The county says though the sewer will be going in one way or another.
“Hopefully, we get this worked out and things move forward,” Dr. Phillips said to the board. “I do anticipate we will have to — we being the county and White House Utility District –we will have to condemn some of these properties. They will not sign an easement.”
“We’re not selling,” said Holmes. “We’re not selling.”
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