Livestream of Covered Bridge, activities at park now available

Published 6:10 pm Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can’t make it down to Covered Bridge Park for a concert, or want to check out one of the state’s historic landmarks? The City of Elizabethton has you covered.
City Manager Jerome Kitchens announced during June’s City Council meeting that a livestream feed of the Covered Bridge and Covered Bridge Park is available for viewing on the City of Elizabethton – Government Facebook page online.
“We did it during the Covered Bridge Days, it streamed live the entire time,” said Anthony Lawrence, owner of Doe River Technology Services. “The next weekend came where we had another live event, then we switched it back to the Covered Bridge.”
Running constantly, the livestream features a crystal-clear quality for viewers thanks to a dedicated fiber network that runs through the Covered Bridge.
“There a line that runs from 911 to the sheriff’s department that goes through the Covered Bridge,” Lawrence explained. “And people can’t really see it. It goes through the mesh to keep pigeons away. That was one big thing Jerome (Kitchens) wanted … to make sure the Covered Bridge kept its natural look for the public without technology hanging out.”
Lawrence added that a camera system was installed roughly eight years ago but as the city began searching for grants to benefit the Bonnie Kate Theater restoration – the ability to improvement the system was made available.
“We put all new cameras around the park and in the bridge,” Lawrence said. “The grant covered half and the other came out of the my IT budget with the system. The system cost around $20,000 and this system cost $5,000. It shows how technology has grown over the years.”
Having the system in place with a livestream aspect can prove to be an important tool moving forward, Lawrence added. Officers are able to view the cameras from their mobile devices for safety purposes, along with city officials. Along with safety, the ability to have a livestream available for the public allows a look on how weather is developing near the park and tourism to receive an extra push. Lawrence added Carter County Tourism Kayla Carter has linked off from the video and having the ability to highlight the Covered Bridge, which was recently ranked as the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice winner for top covered bridge in the county, is a vital tool to promote the area.
“It’s been a great tool,” he said. “You can go through the comments on Facebook and see people remembering their time in Elizabethton, talking about the Covered Bridge, missing the area. Jerome is very adamant about promoting Elizabethton and the Covered Bridge.”
Lawrence added the goal for the future is to potentially have the ability to livestream the Carter County Car Club’s annual Cruise-In events and their Car Show for the public.
“It’s always great to see downtown, especially with the popularity of the Car Show,” he said. “We’re looking a possible getting a downtown partner for that. I think it would also be great to have a camera up on the top of Roan Mountain.”
Assisting with the safety and promotion of the area are important for Lawrence. The owner of Doe River Technology Services provides IT service for the city, county, the Elizabethton Police Department, the City of Morristown and a variety of businesses.
For more information, contact Lawrence at (423) 943-2178.

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