|Groups putting a plan together
Jonathan Hermann news-herald.net
After the success of a regional input session in September, officials are now close to moving forward with plans for more than 500 acres of Tennessee Valley Authority land along the Tennessee River and U.S. Highway 321.
The input session, organized by Lenoir City Committee of 100, TVA and the East Tennessee Community Design Center, brought in 2,125 responses to the questions of what should be done with the land. Of those responses, 356 were from meeting attendees, 1,172 were from an online survey and 597 were from students.
“That was a big deal,” Leslie Fawaz, studio design director for ETCDC, said. “... For the community meetings I’ve held and online surveys, it’s a really large number. You can tell there’s a lot of community support for moving some of the ideas on this project.”
The data was formally presented to TVA, Tellico Reservoir Development Agency, Lenoir City and members of the Committee of 100 during a Nov. 16 meeting.
“I think it was very favorable,” Fawaz said. “The plan is to move forward with developing a plan. I think that would be the next goal in this project to look at the ideas and see where they could be implemented.”
The data showed the top three responses for each recreation category included: hiking, a visitors center preserving the “million dollar view” and greenway biking for land-based recreation; kayaking/canoeing, boating/jet skiing and swimming for water-based recreation; and waterfront restaurant, event outdoor amphitheater and zip lining, rock climbing or adventure activities for commercial recreation.
“We had a lot of student input and they were more for the physical activities,” Fawaz said. “That weighted differently for students than adults. (Adults) were more for the hiking and the visitors center.”
Now that the data has been presented to TVA, there is interest in moving forward with possible development.
“We are working closely with the Committee of 100 along with city and county officials to look at the recreation potential of that land,” Scott Brooks, public relations representative for TVA, said in an email correspondence.
The next step will be to craft plans and stages for those plans, which will likely begin in January, Clayton Pangle, who has been helping with the project, said.
“We hope to try to move forward with everybody going back and thinking of pursuing different things that were on the checklist,” Pangle said. “Not necessarily eliminating things right now, but thinking of reaching out to a group that could think of moving forward with a basic preliminary plan of where things could possibly go.”
That will include designs for possible facilities.
“At this point, we are working with the East Tennessee Community Design Center to prepare artist renderings of some of the ideas,” Brooks said. “Those should be available for review in the next few months.”
The common goal for all parties is to improve the land and provide an asset to the public.
“We want whatever happens at that property to be an amenity for the community,” Brooks said. “We want to preserve the ‘million dollar view,’ and we want it to be done right.”
For more information on the regional input results and detailed breakdowns of voting, visit http://www.communitydc.org/regional/.