Commission OKs stabilization project

Dec. 20, 2012 @ 11:31 PM

Visitors traveling along the main corridor to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can feel a little safer after the Gatlinburg City Commission passed a proposal to continue stabilizing a potentially dangerous slope along U.S. 441 at its meeting Tuesday.

The purpose of the slope stabilization project is to continue repairs at the north end of the city on U.S. 441 between the BP and Shell gas stations.

"The city has been concerned about that area," said City Manager Cindy Ogle. "... This is a long-awaited, much-needed project."

The approved proposal is the next step in the completion of a project that began in April 2011, following a rock slide that damaged the area. After the rock slide, the Tennessee Department of Transportation made plans for an emergency stabilization project, which included a new retaining wall along the slope to prevent future slides from entering the road.

The retaining wall will now be extended by 145 feet, according to Public Services Manager Larry Henderson. A rock drape will also be installed over a rocky portion of the slope to prevent falling rock

"Where you see the blue slate, vertical rock is where the rock drape will be. It will catch any loose rock," Henderson said.

The commission also approved:

- An off-premise certificate of good moral character for William L. Maples, D/B/A Gatlinburg Package Store, 132 Parkway

- A certificate of compliance for William L. Maples, D/B/A Gatlinburg Package Store, 132 Parkway

- An agency agreement with LeadsOnline, LLC for online access related to the police department

Also, local businessman Chad Kennedy — founder of Kennedy Concepts, which owns area restaurants Puckers Sports Bar & Grill, Crawdaddy's Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Loco Burro, and Johnny Rockets — spoke during the public petitions and communications portion of the meeting.

Kennedy wanted to know how to go about getting the city commission to consider changing the hours liquor could be sold in Gatlinburg restaurants. Specifically, he wanted the hours to be extended from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.

City attorney Ron Sharp said the hours for the sale of liquor are set by state regulations, and the city commission has no control in changing the hours.

"This was adopted in the early 1980s when liquor by the drink came to Gatlinburg, so this has been on the books now 25, maybe 30 years," Sharp said.

rhargett@themountainpress.com