Thursday's meeting of the Murfreesboro City Council included lengthy public hearings concerning more annexations and rezonings in the Blackman area, with a sudden reference to the newly acquired mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle.
Multifamily residential rezonings have immediately followed approved annexation requests before the City Council during several meetings over the last several months, and residents expressed concern over the growing number of apartments in the area and their impact on schools.
Jeff Rainwater urged council members to reconsider the impact that such development would have on schools and said city was technically following Tennessee's annexation law but "breaking the spirit of the law."
"The legislature did not intend for cities to annex peninsulas of land for development in the county," he said.
Kevin Gunther, of engineering firm Huddleston-Steele, indicated his clients, the Wright family partnership, were simply seeking the annexation in order to take advantage of city services along Veterans Parkway for their proposed apartment development.
Other comments during the lengthy public hearing focused on the potential negative impact for Blackman area schools, including charges of burdening already overcrowded schools and declining quality in public education.
However, the City Council approved the annexations and rezonings on first reading in a unanimous vote.
Concluding his comments just prior to the vote on the matter, Rainwater threw the council and audience a curve when he suddenly protested the Murfreesboro Police Department's recent acquisition of an armored personnel carrier with a grant for military surplus.
"I am going to say the most important thing I have ever said to the City Council," he said. "Give the MRAP back."
City councilmen and audience members alike looked to each other in bewilderment, prompting Mayor Tommy Bragg to explain that "MRAP" is simply an acronym for a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle.
Councilman Toby Gilley then explained that the Police Department had acquired the vehicle at no cost in order to employ it as a tool in "threats from armed gunmen."
"If it has any further unreasonable costs, we can simply scrap it, right?" Gilley asked.
"Yes," replied Police Chief Glenn Chrisman.