Letter: Nobody ensures Seymour will receive its fair share

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 11:32 PM


The just-published “Welcome to Sevier County” booklet from The Mountain Press tells all of the good things Sevier County has to offer, but what I found most telling was what Seymour, the county’s second-largest community,  doesn’t have. The Seymour feature, at the back of the booklet, as if an afterthought, says Seymour has a lot of people, some schools and a library and is a good place to locate a business.

It  is indeed a good place to locate a business, especially when you consider a potential residential customer base of some 20,000 (counting the Blount and Knox County portions of Seymour) with median family incomes of more than $45,000. It also is good for the county coffers because all of the sales tax generated in Seymour goes directly to the county, while sales tax collected in the county’s incorporated towns is split with those towns.  

At the behest of county officials in lots of areas, including Sevier, a “tiny town” state law was passed several years ago that, as I understand it, basically makes it impossible for Seymour to incorporate since it would be unable to share any sales tax except that generated after the city is incorporated. This means Seymour, with a Sevier County population of some 10,000, is dependent on the county for services.

What doesn’t Seymour have?  It has no community center. It has no sidewalks, no bike trails, no greenways, no parks to speak of.  Sometimes I wonder if it has any representation in Sevier County government.

To me, driving Boyds Creek Highway daily from Chapman Highway, it is especially sad to see children from King’s Academy and the Seymour schools, as well as others, dodge traffic, tall grass and any number of other impediments, as they risk life and limb to walk between the schools and commercial sites along Boyds Creek to Chapman Highway.

The county missed a golden opportunity to at least make a start on some sort of pathway when it redid the Boyds Creek-Old Sevierville Pike intersection. In fact, the widening leaves hardly any room for pedestrians or bikers.

I am sure providing the above-mentioned services is expensive, since it involves rights-of-way and such, but I’m wondering if anyone is looking after Seymour enough to explore grants, donations and various ways of funding, as well as a fair share of county funding, to provide Seymour with the services it deserves as the county’s second largest community.

Lois R. Thomas