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Erwin BMA names overpass after Brown

A new name has been approved for the overpass being constructed in Erwin.
The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved Resolution No. 1217-15 to name the overpass in memory of the late Pat Brown during its meeting on Monday, March 9.
“I’m thrilled and appreciate their support,” Lou Petterson, daughter of Brown, said of the BMA. “It has been up in the air for so long. I just don’t have words to express how happy I am and it’ll make a lot of other people happy, too. There have been numerous amounts of people asking ‘are they going to name that overpass after your daddy?’ He owned all that land and was in business since 1956. That’s where he spent his life and the fact it’s going to be named after him is remarkable because I was prepared for it to not be … I’m just thrilled beyond words.”
The process will be underway now as documents will be sent to state for the final touches of approval, according to Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley.
“We’ll send a copy of this resolution to State Senator (Rusty) Crowe and State Representative John Holtsclaw,” she said.
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Also during Monday’s meeting, the BMA went through multiple first readings of ordinances. Members unanimously approved the placement a new and comprehensive alcoholic beverage ordinance.
A referendum was passed to allow liquor by the drink in the Town of Erwin during the November 2014 election.
Ordinance 679-15 will repeal Title 8 of the Municipal Code
“This ordinance captures everything to do with selling beer, liquor-by-the-drink and package stores,” City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said.
If the ordinance passes through a second meeting, merchants will be invited to attend a workshop so businesses can be on the same page regarding the selling of liquor and beer, Rosenoff added.
The ordinance will adopt the state’s liquor-by-the-drink regulations and allow stores currently selling beer to sell on Sundays, which was prohibited in the previous beer ordinance, excluding Christmas and Easter.
An approval of an ordinance to allow package stores to be used in B-2 and M-1 districts also passed through its initial reading Monday evening.
“We chose the zones just because that’s where it’s more business-populated,” Hensley stated. “And that’s where we think that we will get the best use of the liquor licenses in the area.”
The selling of liquor in town would be prohibited on holidays and allowed to sell from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Businesses will have opportunities to apply to sell liquor and other alcoholic beverages after both ordinances pass through another round of readings. No applications have been worked up, Hensley added. The initial plan discussed is following the second reading, which could take place March 23, applications would be available 10 days later.
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Sidewalk dining is closing in on become a reality after another ordinance passed through the first reading by support of all members.
“This will definitely improve the use of downtown,” Rosenoff said. “The master plan was to encourage people to stay downtown and encourage them to eat a meal right near the facade of the restaurant.”
Rosenoff added the main points of the ordinance were to pass through attorney, Tom Seeley III, with a four-foot free space for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalks and for businesses to have a $1 million liability insurance, which Steel Rails Coffee, Choo Choo Cafe and Hawg-N-Dawg are all in compliance with, Rosenoff added.
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Hensley said discussions are underway to help create an emergency service unit to assist with the emergency medical ambulance authority in Unicoi County.
“That is not to take the place of the ambulance authority,” Hensley said, “but to help when needed.”
Chief of Police Reagan Tilson stated three officers are currently EMT-trained and other officers are willing to go through training to form a unit to help in a cost-effective way.
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To open Monday’s meeting, Rosenoff mentioned that current plans for a skate park in Erwin have been OK’ed by the state of Tennessee. The projected location of the skate park is set at the end of Gay Street and down Nolichucky Avenue.
Further plans on construction dates will be made in the future, according to Rosenoff.
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Speaking on behalf of downtown merchants, Lou Snider of Hawg-N-Dawg proposed the location specifics for upcoming downtown car shows.
The approval of shutting down Tucker Street to Union Street every Friday from May 1 to Aug. 21, excluding July 3, passed unanimously along with the approval of shutting down Main Street on Oct. 31 for a Trick or Treat event.
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The board also approved Change Order No. 004 for the downtown revitalization phases two and three regarding stormwater connections to the existing box culvert on Main Street.
The changes will cost $37,000, according to Rosenoff, and those prices will be absorbed into the $50,000 allowance already in place with $13,000 left over.
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In other items discussed at the meeting, representatives of the Unicoi County Animal Shelter presented their annual budget report and did not ask for any additional income due to cost-cutting measures, including spaying and neutering programs, fundraisers and other measures under the current director Jessica Rogers, according to JoAnn Tatro, during the presentation.
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The BMA workshop, “Advancing Erwin 2015,” is scheduled for March 21 and 22.