Council OKs multiple events, budget appropriation amendments

Published 8:29 pm Thursday, April 13, 2017

Downtown Elizabethton will receive some love in the coming weeks with City Council approving various activities while proclaiming a week for National Small Business Week.
Council members convened inside City Chambers Thursday and approved the current schedule for the 51st annual Covered Bridge Celebration and a handful of projects by Jiggy Ray’s Pizzeria.
The Covered Bridge Celebration is scheduled for June 8-10 and the only significant change for this year’s event, according to Tonya Stevens with the Chamber of Commerce, is the elimination of a Wednesday. Having a three-day celebration is expected to have more of an impact moving forward.
Jiggy Ray’s also received the OK to have the second annual Bike Nights take place from April to August from 5:45 to 10 p.m. and requested to have live music located on the walkway near the restaurant. Traffic would be blocked from Sycamore to Riverside and motorcycles would be allowed to park on the 600 block of Elk Avenue while a fire lane would be maintained at all times.
John Seehorn and John “Bull” Malone stated the Bike Nights last year were a tremendous success and that bikers were very great to get along with and helped take care of the area.
Jiggy Ray’s reported that over 300 bike enthusiasts participated in the inaugural night last year and that the event is a tremendous opportunity to introduce visitors from the region to the downtown area.
The restaurant also had their plans approved to have four different outdoor concerts spanning from June to September, which include:
• JiggyPalooza – Saturday, June 24
• JiggyStock – Saturday, July 22
• JiggyRoo – Saturday, Aug. 19
• JiggyFest – Saturday, Sept. 2
Live music and stage lighting will be set up from 2 to 11 p.m. each day for the events. The last festival, JiggyFest, will include a road closure for a concert to cap off the series.
City Manager Jerome Kitchens added he spoke with the Carter County Car Club and that the organization had no problems with the final event.
To go along with the downtown theme earlier in the meeting, Mayor Curt Alexander issued a proclamation designating April 30 through May 6 as the time the city will recognize National Small Business Week.
The proclamation indicated that small businesses make up 95 percent of all business in Elizabethton and employee over 4,300 people – providing jobs for half the city’s workforce.
“The City of Elizabethton supports and joins in this national effort to help America’s small businesses do what they do best – grow their business, create jobs, and ensure that our communities remain as vibrant tomorrow as they are today,” a portion of the proclamation read.
The annual Roan Groan Bicycle also received a green light by officials.
During a busy agenda that included multiple budget amendments, City Police Chief Jason Shaw provided an update on what the city police department is doing to tackle drug problems in the area.
Before City Council approved, an appropriation amendment to the drug fund, Council member Jeff Treadway asked Shaw about the drug problem in the community.
Shaw said there was one and that pain medications in the highest cause of issues. Shaw went on to added that the department is looking to take different steps in combating the issue by working alongside the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition (CCDP) on different initiatives to help a problem that spans statewide.
Kitchens credited Shaw’s effort by being involved with CCDP since his first day as chief and that the EPD is doing the best they can. The department is offering ways to help individuals battling through addiction, whether it’s faith-based initiatives, drug programs or getting them help elsewhere after making an arrest.
CCDP also recently partner with EPD for a drug-take-back event and Naloxone training.
Treadway said he’s doubling down his support for the drug problem and that the department has the full support from the Council
Josh McKinney with Grow Carter County addressed council members and provided an update on the group and encouraged city leaders to get involved if possible. The team is looking to be designated as a Healthier Tennessee Community, which can allow the region to apply for grants to further health-driven programs in Elizabethton and Carter County. More information on the group can be gathered by searching for Grow Carter County’s Facebook page online.
Other highlights from the meeting include ratifying the mayor’s signature on a rehab/repair project of East Elk Avenue Bridge. The city will be able to make a match with TDOT with $125,000 being placed in a reserve. Councilmen members also approved the Harold McCormick property purchase through a first reading once again and approved funding portion of a Phase II environmental study of the Matheson property – managed by Carter County Tomorrow – to begin the process of marketing the building for possible suitors. The city also agreed to split a $5,000 conservation grant between a fire alarm system inside Bonnie Kate and camera system at Covered Bridge Park.

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