Pigeon Forge officials foresee less negativity

Commission makeup to change May 28
May. 22, 2013 @ 11:33 PM

As one city commissioner departs and a new one enters on May 28, some officials feel that the new commission will be a more agreeable one.

“As a whole, I expect this group to work together better, bringing each individual’s ideas, thoughts, feelings and perspectives on any issue while working together with cooperation,” Mayor David Wear said. “I think there will be more decorum and respect among the commissioners.

“I don’t think there will be the negativity that we’ve had in the last four years. I think it’s all going to be for the betterment of the city. We’re going to move the city forward in a positive way because we’ll be working together.”

In the May 14 municipal election, Planning Commissioner Jay Ogle was elected, and incumbents Joyce Brackins and Vice-Mayor Kevin McClure were re-elected. Don Denney, Jess Davis and incumbent Randal Robinson were defeated.

Both Wear and McClure stated that it was the hardest-fought election they had ever been a part of or witnessed. McClure also echoed Wear’s feeling that the new group will work well together.

“I think each one of us will have a mutual respect for the others, and we will leave everything in the council room and not drag anything out in the community,” McClure said.

McClure has served on the city commission with all the current commissioners, and he’s also worked with Ogle on the planning commission board.

“Jay (Ogle) will be an asset,” McClure said. “It’s a good group of people who will mesh well.”

Wear spoke to the skills and character of Ogle, as well as the commitment to the community that both McClure and Brackins have shown.

“I think he brings a unique set of skills to the commission because of his background and who he is,” Wear said of Ogle. “He’s very educated, has business experience in our city as well as a family he’s raised in our city.

“Kevin (McClure) and Joyce (Brackins) have been nothing but professional, and no doubt they care about Pigeon Forge. They are there to serve the people. I’ve witnessed that firsthand.”

Although many of the most costly and controversial items, like the events center and wastewater treatment plant, seem to be behind the city for now, Wear said the commission will always have to face new issues.

“There are always challenges coming up,” he said. “There’s not anything specific on the horizon that I could speak to, but it’s all about growth. And those are issues we’ll be tackling no matter what form or fashion they come in.”

“I’d say we’re going to have a whole lot of growth in the next two or three years,” McClure said. “Businesses will be coming in, and I look forward to seeing the TDZ (Tourism Development Zone) grow. I think that’s going to be major.”

rhargett@themountainpress.com