Editorial: Three cheers

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 11:36 PM

Downtown effort a step in right direction

The Sevierville Commons Association’s plan to revitalize downtown Sevierville should be commended.

Though the group will have an uphill battle to get downtown where they want it, just forming an organization dedicated to the purpose and exposing the need for change is a step in the right direction. The group has already hosted a pair of events downtown, and it now boasts more than 20 members.

“There’s always been interest in events to bring people downtown,” he said. “I just called some of them up and said ‘Hey let’s meet.’” Alderman Jim McGill, who is also membership coordinator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, said.

The group hopes to usher people to the downtown area on weekends, when the courthouse is closed. It’s then businesses there    struggle most with the lack of foot traffic and activity.

Hopefully the group’s contact with the state’s Tennessee Downtowns program will help further their efforts. The two-year program coaches a committee from the group on launching an effective revitalization effort. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed to apply for the program, and they hope to hear from the state by June 17.

A more vibrant downtown could be great for the city of Sevierville.

Firefighters save three in Gatlinburg

Just days after a fatal fire in another part of the county, another blaze dangered residents in Gatlinburg.

City firefighters rescued three people and preserved several units of at a set of condominiums atop a mountain Wednesday morning on Ski View Drive.

Responding to an early morning fire at the Gatlinburg Summit Condominiums, the emergency personnel found a group of three people trapped on a balcony. The people were quickly rescued.

Pigeon Forge Fire Department and Sevier County Ambulance Service assisted Gatlinburg Fire Department in responding to the blaze. “Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge fire departments did a wonderful job containing it and keeping it away from the other buildings,” property manager Penny Nicely said.

It’s easy to forget emergency services and their importance, but, when needed, our well-trained local officers are an invaluable asset to our community.

Preserving the county’s historic past

A program by the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee State Museum to preserve the state’s Civil War history visited the King Family Library to record and digitize locally-possessed Civil War memorabilia.

An exhibit the group is working on is called “Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee.” 

“We’ve seen some interesting things today,” archivist Lori Lockhart said Thursday. “There was a Bible hit by a bullet, a gun, lots of documents and store records.”

The process of recording varied among items; many documents could be digitally scanned, while three-dimensional objects, such as a the Bible that was hit by a bullet, were photographed by the on-site photographer, Will Thomas.

“I love Sevierville, because we got a great turnout, and there’s a lot of diversity in what is brought in,” Lockhart said.

It’s great that a state effort exists to catalog these historical artifacts for exhibition, and that the local community proved more than cooperative in the efforts.