Beautification underway in downtown Elizabethton

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bringing in an artistic spark in Elizabethton is looking to trigger a flame of revitalization.
Members of the Downtown Business Association, DBA Beautification Committee members, and artists joined Tuesday with the newly placed mosaic located in the alleyway beside the Coffee Company, and Sweetsie Treats in Historic Downtown Elizabethton.
The mosaic is the first of six that will be donned throughout the alleyway.
Karen Hitchcock, co-owner of Blue River Studio, Diane Allen, Caleb Napier, Jerry Harper and Kailee Buckles each brought in the artistic expertise with the project.
“It’s been a very interesting process,” Hitchcock said Tuesday. “A lot of people worked together for this. There was a lot of support for the project, and I’m looking forward to finishing and moving on to the next projects.”
Since its installation on the wall of the alleyway, the public has taken to social media to show their support and pleasure for the artwork.
“We’re so excited about the growth of our downtown,” Cathy Shoun, president of the DBA, said. “Things like this take a little bit of time. We discuss these projects at our meetings; then we have to take them to the City Council. We’re excited to see things moving forward for the revitalization.“
Progress with the first mosaic is just one of the pieces of the puzzle for the breezeway. Along with the artwork, trees and areas to set were recently installed to go along with the restroom facility located behind the stretch of businesses.
The beautification committee is comprised of Hitchcock, Shoun, Sherry Horne, Pam Huber, Don Wood and Debbie Alexander and the members thanked their supporters Tuesday.
Supporters of the projects include:
• Danny Hilbert
• Jerome Kitchens
• Jon Hartman
• Troutman Agency, the Flemming and Bunn families for donating trees
• Hannon Howard and his crew for planting trees
• Elizabethton Fire Department for watering the trees
• Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance
• Big Johns
• Lew & Linda Loffmin
• Rose Cottage
• Charlie Hann
“The arts and the stores joining together is very important,” Hitchcock said. “This is something that can help with the revitalization of downtown. It has been shown to work with other downtowns. When it comes to revitalization, the arts is one of the first things that help the process.”
Once the first breezeway project is completed, Shoun and Hitchcock both added that the next stop is the breezeway located beside Jiggy Ray’s.
“We want to offer people that come downtown a fun and relaxing atmosphere,” Shoun said. “With the success, Jiggy Ray’s has with the outdoor concerts, we want people to enjoy their time there with places to sit, too.”
Downtown has seen a refocus of attention thanks in part to the work of the businesses, the DBA and different organizations and businesses, including the City, Blue River Studio and the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance.
“Projects like this show that things are changing downtown,” Hitchcock said. “We’re going to build it up for it to be so much better in the future.”
Blue River Studio, the Alliance, and Bonnie Kate Theater are partnering together for an art walk on September 22, Hitchcock added. Shoun went on to add downtown is expecting some big things in the coming months with their annual trick-or-treating and scarecrow competition.
To get involved with the art aspect of projects, contact Blue River Studio at (423) 213-5060 or visit their Facebook page online. Updates on downtown can also be viewed on the Elizabethton Downtown Business Association Facebook page.

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