The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, pictured, approved the 2019 Erwin Great Outdoors Festival during a meeting on Feb. 11. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen met to discuss several topics on Monday, Feb. 11, at Erwin Town Hall.

The board approved the Erwin Great Outdoors Festival to be held on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4. To prepare for the festival, Union Street will be shut down around noon on Friday, May 3, to allow for set up to begin.

A motion to approve hosting the festival again was made by Alderwoman Rachelle Hyder-Shurtz and was seconded by Alderman Michael Baker. The board voted unanimously to approve the festival and the festival dates.

“This year Erwin Outdoor Supply wanted to sponsor a Friday night kick off to be added to the festival,” Town of Erwin Communications Director Jamie Rice told The Erwin Record.

The Friday night festival will include a soundstage set up in the parking lot of the former Mountain Commerce Bank and a chili cookoff. The events on Friday, May 3, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will run to about 9:30 p.m.

Saturday’s events will kick off at 6:30 a.m. and run to about 5 p.m. This year the Town of Erwin Great Outdoors Festival will partner with the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce in bringing the Chamber’s Triple Threat event to the festival.

Also on Monday, the Erwin Beverage Board approved a permit beer to be served at the Erwin Great Outdoors Festival to be held on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, and only within the board approved designated area. The motion to approve the beer permit was made by Vice Mayor Mark Lafever and was seconded by Hyder-Shurtz. The request was approved with Baker abstaining.

The designated area will be in a tent outside of the Union Street Tap Room, which Baker owns. The designated beer garden will be outlined by a picket fence and signage. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed outside of the beer garden, according to the request.

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The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen then shifted gears to address some tweaks to area projects.

The board considered adding electrical upgrades on Union Street between the corner of North Main Avenue and Nolichucky Avenue in the amount of $5,500. The $5,500 would be for three electrical posts to be added to the side streets for festivals.

According to Town of Erwin City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff, there are funds in the current capital that could be used for this project. The electrical towers are quoted at $1,700 each.

Vice Mayor Lafever questioned if it would be more cost effective to get all six posts that are needed long term at once or if the board should go with the three electric towers that were included in the bid.

A motion was made by Hyder-Shurtz and seconded by Baker to table the request until the next Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting to allow Rice more time to get more information. The board voted unanimously to table the item until next meeting.

Also during the meeting, the board approved to add irrigation to the Gathering Place Tourism Enhancement Grant Project in the amount of $4,750.

“We have the funds available under our current year’s capital to fund this and would keep the area beautified and lower the maintenance and labor costs on the back end,” Rosenoff said. The motion to approve was made by Alderman Gary Chandler and seconded by Hyder-Shurtz. The board unanimously approved adding the irrigation system.

Moving on, the board approved the purchase of a Robotic Ridgerunner Slope Mower (CMI Equipment Sales – NJPA Cooperative Purchasing) in the amount of $44,216.15 and for this purchase to be included with the Bond Series 2018 Loan. The Bond Series 2018 Loan is in reference to the loan that the Town of Erwin received from the City of Clarksville. The loan was approved during a September Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. The funds were allocated for this purchase, as well as other public works projects.

“Public works and the street department strongly recommended this purchase to cut down on safety concerns and labor,” Rosenoff said.

The motion to approve came from Chandler and was seconded by Baker. The motion carried by a unanimous vote.

“These are key pieces to help forward this department,” Lafever said. “We have to look to build long term.”

The board received two bids for the property located at 1112 Seventh Street. The first bid was for $1,575 and the second was for $10,000 with a contingency pending approval by the Erwin Board of Zoning and Appeals. The issue is that the land is unique in size and shape and it would be difficult to build a home on the location. The bidder wishes to put a manufactured home on the site and have the home facing Seventh Street. The manufactured home would be a three-bedroom, and two-bath home.

“My intent is to put a home there for my daughter and her child,” bidder Johnny Tipton Sr. said.

The board asked Rosenoff what he would recommend.

“I would recommend the $10,000 bid contingent on the variance request be approved,” Rosenoff said.

The motion to approve the $10,000 bid contingent on the variance request was made by Chander and was seconded by Baker. The board voted unanimously to approve.

If the Erwin Board of Zoning Appeals denies the variance request of placing a manufactured home on the property, the property could go out for bid again. The Erwin Board of Zoning and Appeals meets later this month.

In closing, the Erwin Beverage Board named Gary Edwards chairman of the Erwin Beverage Board. The nomination came from Chandler and was seconded by Lafever. The board then voted unanimously to name Edwards chairman of the Erwin Beverage Board.