The Herald Bulletin

October 24, 2013

Mayor, council disagree over new CATS hub

By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Anderson City Council will conduct a special meeting today to discuss a new CATS bus terminal.

Anderson Public Information Officer Alisha Cummings said the council and Mayor Kevin Smith's administration are at odds over the terminal's proposed location. A decision could be reached at the meeting.

Some members of city council want to build the bus terminal in front of the Anderson Young Ballet Theater at Meridian and Main streets.

Cummings said the city administration is opposed to putting the terminal there, in part because of the hassle it would pose to the dancers and their parents.

The Smith administration wants to put the new terminal at the corner of 14th Street and Central Avenue.

Sam Pellegrino, general manager of CATS, said an environmental study from the Madison County Council of Governments recommended the city's chosen site. Pellegrino cited several advantages offered by the location, including minimized disruption of current routes and the central location near downtown businesses.

Council member Russ Willis — like Smith, a Republican — favors locating the terminal at 14th and Central.

"It would provide an improvement to the neighborhood," he said.

Pellegrino said the site the council picked has not been federally approved and any construction there would not be matched by a federal grant. Initially, $1.8 million in federal grants were earmarked for the project.

The city has already received federal approval to build the terminal at the 14th-and-Central site, Pellegrino said.

Councilman Joe Newman said he has not decided which site plan to support and will attend tonight's meeting with an open mind.

If the two sides don't agree, Cummings said, the decision might not be reached at today's meeting. In fact, if an agreement can't be reached, the council might decide to buy new buses instead. CATS currently has seven routes, eight buses for those routes and eight buses for Nifty Lift routes.

Pellegrino said a decision on a terminal location must be reached because CATS needs a new one badly. "I think if you go to our current terminal and look around, you'll see why we need one," he said.

No council members in support of the proposed terminal location by the dance theater could be reached by phone Wednesday.

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB or call 640-4847.

Meeting today Who: Anderson City Council What: Special meeting to discuss a new CATS bus terminal. When: 5 p.m. Where: Anderson City Hall