TDOT to address widening portion of West Elk Avenue: Popular Chinese restaurant states it will remain open

Published 5:33 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

With the plans of expanding a portion of the West Elk Avenue corridor getting closer to reality, one local eatery is dispelling rumors about a possible closure.
Hunan Chinese Restaurant owner Christina Lian confirmed to the Elizabethton Star Wednesday afternoon that the business is not shutting down. Speculation on the restaurant’s operation ensued following various posts being made on social media during the week and inquiries coming from Elizabethton Star readers.
“It is all just a rumor,” Lian said. “It is a rumor that has been going on for a few years now. We just received a call from somebody just a few minutes ago from Greeneville asking if we are closing. We aren’t … I don’t know where these rumors come from.”
Lian added that the rumor typically spurs when discussion of widening West Elk Avenue comes into play.
“We haven’t received a letter or anything from the state,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere. If something does ever happen, if we ever close or relocate, we will make sure our customers know about it. But we are in our 29th year of being opened. We don’t plan on going anywhere.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) recently unveiled their proposed projects that will take place between 2018-20 in conjunction with the recently passed IMPROVE ACT — geared toward fixing roadways across the state. Carter County has two projects on the list. The projects include a five-mile right-of-way improvement on West Elk Avenue from SR 67 (US-321) to SR-37 (US-19E) in 2018 and construction on the five-mile stretch in 2020.
TDOT is handling the project and has been in the area scouting through the north corridor of West Elk Avenue — which includes Hunan.
While the restaurant is ever-popular, the remaining portion of the corridor has been a hot topic of discussion through the years when it comes to expanding the roadway. The City has been working toward implementing their own TIF (tax increment financing) district along Elk Avenue as well to help develop a portion of the city. Instituting a TIF district would allow higher property tax revenues to be brought in as the value of the redevelopment moves up over the years.
While further deliberation is in store for development of the section, Lian added she appreciated the support of community members through the years.
“I’ve had to tell my employees nothing is going on,” she said. “We’ve had these questions come up over the years. It is great to know we have the support and we want to let our customers know we plan on staying around.”
Further information about projects being observed by TDOT will be provided in coming issues of the Elizabethton Star. A request for information on the West Elk Avenue project to the Community Relations Office for TDOT – Region 1 was not replied back to prior to press deadline.

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