Supporter of LBTD says time to set aside differences

Dec. 03, 2012 @ 11:35 PM

Editor:

Pigeon Forge & Sevier County, as most of you know by now the Pigeon Forge LBTD Referendum won by 100 votes (1,232 for and 1,132 against) which is a 52% to 48% margin. This was a very hard fought campaign but in the end the Pigeon Forge voters decided it was time to give everyone a choice, level the playing field and increase the revenue/tax dollars for our city, businesses, residents and schools.

From a personal standpoint, I want to say that while I am excited for Pigeon Forge and all of Sevier County, I am humble and understanding of how close this vote was and that the healing process must begin in order for us to move forward together. This campaign had passionate folks on both sides of the issue and I know each person voted with conviction and what they thought was best for Pigeon Forge and I respect that.

However, now is the time for us to set aside our differences on this matter and work together to make Pigeon Forge better each passing day for our businesses, residents and visitors. We should also further enhance our working relationship with our sister cities of Gatlinburg and Sevierville and all of Sevier County in an effort to foster the most beneficial partnership possible. Yes, we are competitors but we need to be "friendly competitors" that work in cooperation to promote and provide the best overall environment possible for our businesses, citizens and visitors.

Thank you to all the people who supported this team effort led by the members of Forging Ahead as I greatly appreciate each of you and the contribution/effort you provided. Your passion in this overall campaign was an inspiration to me and reminded me why I love the people of Pigeon Forge/Sevier County so much.

To our opponents, thank you for a hard fought race and I (we) respect your opinion/position on this issue and know you were doing what you thought was best for Pigeon Forge. I too appreciate and respect your passion for Pigeon Forge and Sevier County and that is another reason I love this area and the people as we can agree to disagree and move on.

Lastly, I love Pigeon Forge as it is my hometown and hope everyone can understand passionately loving your hometown. However, I also love Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pittman Center and all of Sevier County and especially the people of this area. As some of you may know, I often represent Sevier County (as a whole/together) on various boards and committees locally and across the state of Tennessee and I am always proud and honored to let everyone know that I am from/represent Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Sevier County and I always will be.

I continually look forward to working with each of you "in cooperation" to make all of Sevier County better each passing day.

Ken Maples

Pigeon Forge