City Council gives approval for possible whitewater park, City police officer recognized for saving citizen’s life

Published 11:18 am Monday, September 16, 2019

The Elizabethton City Council approved the adoption of a whitewater advisory board at the recommendation of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department during its meeting Thursday night. Council members also recognized a city police officer for saving the life of a citizen while off duty. The council then reconvened as the Elizabethton Beverage Board to approve temporary beer permits for special events at the Bonnie Kate later this month.

The council sanctioned the creation of a new group called Surf Betsy Advisory Board that will look into the creation of a whitewater park for Elizabethton. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains spoke at length of studies conducted by the department of the benefits that whitewater rafting would have for the city.

Elizabethton has two whitewater rated bodies of water with the Watauga and Doe Rivers that run through the city. Mains said that other cities have invested millions to build whitewater parks.

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Mains encouraged taking advantage of these valuable resources.

“You can’t go out and purchase a river. You can’t relocate a river,” he told the council.

The new panel will be chaired by Bill Schooley and include as members

Wes Bradley and Metin Eryasa. Council representatives will be Kim Birchfield and Wes Frazier.

Police Chief Jason Shaw spoke with members of council about the special commitment to duty by Officer Lance Peters. Shaw said in a prepared statement that, “Lance Peters observed a male subject lying on the ground near the roadway [on Blue Springs Road] screaming for help. Patrolman Peters stopped and discovered the subject had been shot in the upper portion of his leg and immediately began to administer first aid…” Shaw said the event occurred on June 23 and Peters was off duty at the time.

Police officials gave Peters unanimous approval for a Lifesaving Award, which was presented to the officer by Shaw to an approving council and packed council chambers.

In other business, the proclamation of recognition for long time coach Len Dugger was postponed for October.

The council combined and approved with all ayes the following special events applications: BBQ, Blues & Brews Festival, American Society’s Relay for Life event, Elizabethton High School Homecoming Parade, Downtown Trick or Treat & Boo on the Block and Happy Valley High School’s Homecoming Parade.

The city council also approved posting three additional SRO police officers for the city’s elementary schools. The move will ensure the safety of children in all city schools and not just the two high schools.

The city council adjourned and then reconvened as the Beverage Board to approve temporary permits filed by the The Friends of the Bonnie Kate Theater to serve beer at the Third Annual BBQ, Blues & Brews Festival on October 19 and an after-party event September 27.