Local businesses lend a helping hand to IDEAS Group

Published 5:40 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As the City of Elizabethton and Carter County government goes through the budget process for 2017-18, along with a laundry list of other items, it’s safe to say things continually stay busy.
And Jarrod Ellis, owner of J’s Corner, knows something about having a full plate.
With a small community like Carter County, there are so many different projects and “IDEAS” to cover and it’s that go-getter attitude that drove Ellis, along with a host of community members, to join the IDEAS Group — which is focused on development and beautification of Carter County and Elizabethton properties to attract more visitors to the area.
“We know the County Commission and City Council have a lot on their plate,” Ellis told the Elizabethton Star. “I’ve lived in the community my entire life, and I want to be prideful of what we have. The IDEAS Group has a vision, and that’s to make Carter County and Elizabethton appealing and capitalize on what we already have to offer. It’s such a great thing because we can all come together. We don’t ask for  any money; we come together to get the job done.”
The IDEAS Group continues to utilize assets at their disposal. With the possibility of achieving grant funding, the bulk of which was completed from some good old-fashioned hard work and monetary donations.
One of the recent products produced by the group was the recent clearing of brush and trash from a Doe River access point in Hampton located across the road from Hampton High School.
During the weekend endeavors, members of the group, a handful of county commissioners, a city council member, various groups, and citizens came out and donated time, effort and equipment to have the property in prime condition for further development.
“First off, I want to thank the County Commission and Mayor (Leon) Humphrey’s office,” Ellis said. “They were all so supportive of the project. I think we had no idea the amount of impact this group could have but during that day it was incredible and a real powerful moment to show people that this team is serious about making Carter County and Elizabethton for its residents and individuals coming in to visit.”
Ellis provided funding to purchase gravel that will be used for parking at the location. Henry and Mike “Acey” Ensor of Ensor Construction also donated time and effort while John Seehorn and John “Bull” Malone of Jiggy Ray’s provided lunch to volunteers that gave their time and effort during the project.
“You’ve got business people, members of the county commission, professionals … everybody is chipping in and lending a hand,” Acey Ensor said during the cleanup. “People have donated money, donated time, donated equipment. It is just a great thing. Me and my dad were grateful to volunteer a day; we didn’t mind a bit because we give to the school system, county … we want to volunteer our time and effort. This is going to generate a lot of community interest and lead to more and more projects down the road.”
Malone looked on during the event and added that it was incredible to see the amount of support for a project that was just two months old.
It was the proactive approach, according to Ellis, that makes projects come alive.
“That’s the best thing about this group. If you have an active mind and want to help, you are definitely welcomed,” he said. “County, city, business owner or just somebody that wants to help. We want to see people come together and be proactive. We have so many different projects that are being looked at.”
Various entities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority and engineers from Appalachian State University, have already visited the city and have been approached to possibly help with different projects coming up, including beautification at Covered Bridge Park and work at Mill Race.
“The Mill Race project … if we can accomplish that, it will be such a benefit,” Ellis said. “There’ll be a lot of time and effort put in it, but the final product will be amazing for the residents.”
One of the key factors about the group is the lack of self-gratification, Ellis said.
“Metin (Eryasa) was talking about our shirts, and it was brought up that we didn’t want to have any sponsors,” he said. “This isn’t about one particular person. We’re all doing this together, and we’re equals. We just want to do our part to make our area great for the future.”
Individuals looking to get involved can send a request to join the Elizabethton IDEAS Group Facebook page online to stay up to date on further projects.

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