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County officials discuss damage to parking lot

A Unicoi County school bus caused damage to a church parking lot in Erwin.

By Ty Butler

Officials say that a parked Unicoi County school bus caused noticeable damage to a church parking lot, totaling around $700 in repair fees.

According to Director of Unicoi County Schools John English, a county driver began parking the school bus at a nearby church due to a lack of space at the driver’s residence. English said that the overall weight of the vehicle caused cracks and black tire marks at the corner of the church’s lot.

“We didn’t have any dispute that the bus had caused damage to that section, that’s where he (driver) parks it every day and night,” said English.

Cracks in the parking lot pavement were caused by a county school bus.

After the church’s staff discovered the damages, school board and county officials were left to find a resolution.

Unicoi County Road Superintendent Terry Haynes said that his department was in negotiations to repair the property.

“We confronted the auditor to see if we could fix it,” Haynes said.

Haynes explained that because a county bus caused the damage, Unicoi County Schools would have had to pay his department to make the repairs.

English noted that the school system planned to pay for the repairs, but as discussions continued, church officials announced that the parking lot would be fixed as part of a repaving project, paid for by the church.

The damage at the parking lot had been on an agenda for a county commission meeting, but after the church announced plans to repave the lot from their own funds the item was removed from the agenda.

“I spoke with people at the church, and they’re not going to need assistance from the road department or school system to get that repair finished,” said Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely.