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Broadband expansion wins Erwin BMA support

By Richard Rourk

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen met on Monday, Jan. 25, and voted unanimously to support expansion of Erwin Fiber Broadband throughout Unicoi County.

Town of Erwin Alderman Michael Baker made a motion to approve a Resolution Number 1287-21, a resolution of the Town of Erwin, Tennessee, supporting legislation authorizing the expansion of Erwin Fiber Broadband Service throughout Unicoi County.

“We have three pockets to address,” Erwin Fiber President and CEO Lee Brown said. “Simerly Creek and Woodby Hill and are serviced by Mountain Electric Co-Op out of Roan Mountain. They have no intentions of getting into broadband and have sent us a letter of support. There are about 125 homes here. The next little pocket is Sciota; they are served by Elizabethton Electric. There are about 20-25 homes there. We feel like these three pockets should not be left out. I am asking you to support this to support legislation that will allow us to serve these areas.”

The BMA voted unanimously to support Erwin Fiber following a second by Alderwoman Paula Edwards.

Moving on the town approved an updated Downtown Antique District directional highway sign located on Interstate 26. The new signage has already been budgeted annually for $1,300 and will include downtown eateries and shops. Alderman Mickey Hatcher made a motion to approve the signage, followed by a second by Alderman Gary Chandler. The BMA voted unanimously to approve the updated interstate signage, while Vice Mayor Mark Lafever abstained from the vote.

In a final order of business, the BMA voted unanimously to approve Resolution Number 1288-21, a resolution of the Town of Erwin, Tennessee, authorizing the Town to submit an application for the fiscal year of 2021 Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $420,000.

According to Town of Erwin City Recorder Travis Bishop, the $420,000 block grant could be used for a new fire hall.

“This is something that we see a need for and this grant has a very low match of 4 percent,” Bishop said.

The Town of Erwin BMA is scheduled to meet Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m.