when I was a youngster, we had a lot of super heroes. Batman and Robin,
Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man and so on. One of my favorites was
Mighty Mouse. When he would show up he would always sing, "Here I come
to save the day."
Well, here in Loudon County we have a new kind of super heroes, or at least they thought they were. They call themselves developers.
For the last few years during the boom times, big money developers descended on Loudon County like gold miners on Sutter's mill. In both cases, the lure of fast easy money drove men to make some poor decisions. Now that the boom has gone bust, what's left over?
How about super hero Mike Ross? First came Rarity Bay. Ross got some real sweetheart deals from TVA, TRDA and apparently then Loudon County Property Assessor, Doyle Arp. Then came Rarity Pointe and the rest is history.
Then there was Dr. Bob Overholt who had a "vision" for Lenoir City. Of course his vision was for the tax payers to foot the bill for his vision. Fortunately, the tax payers let their feelings be known and Dr. Bob bailed out but not before he was able to turn a hefty little profit.
Then we have Mimms and Tetra who bought Dr. Bob's failed project. OK, Mimms has done pretty good. They scratched off the front fifty acres of the development and managed to get Food City to relocate and there are a couple of banks and a hamburger place. Mimms never asked for tax payer subsidies.
Tetra hasn't faired quit so well. Tetra bought the big chunk of Dr. Bob's failed project. More big plans and promises. Now the Tetra property is in foreclosure. Tetra had asked for tax payer help but apparently didn't even last long enough to follow through with that request.
Then down south, we had the mighty Thunder Thornton and the Tennessee National project. Boy if I was one of those who bought in on the first properties I would be ticked off. Tennessee National property values have plummeted and apparently the whole project has gone bust. Of course the first to jump ship was Thornton. But not before some how managing to get mayor Doyle Arp and a majority of the Loudon County commission to chip in nearly $400,000.00 to build a gated private road into his development. Think about that, a road you paid for but you can't drive on unless you own property in the development.
Back up to Lenoir City, the big tax payer funded winner hands down would be Ed Loy and the Creekwood Development. Some how, Loy was able to get a lot of tax payer money for his development. Economic Development president, Pat Phillips was able to grab a couple million from the state and Lenoir City officials donated about four million more to build a nice four lane road right through the middle of Loy's development. In fairness and according to city officials, Loy did agree and has so far paid the interest payments on the city's four million debt but how much longer will that continue?
There are a lot of much smaller instances like those
already mentioned but these are the real standouts. This is a real
teachable moment for our local officials. If it sounds too good to be
true, it probably is. Stop giving our money away.