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Lafever receives another term as Erwin vice mayor

Mark Lafever, far right, received another term as Erwin vice mayor at the Monday, Jan. 24, meeting of the Erwin BMA.

By Richard Rourk

The Town of Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen reelected a familiar face to serve as vice mayor for 2022.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Mark Lafever received a vote of confidence from the BMA at its Jan. 24 meeting to continue serving as vice mayor for 2022. Alderman Gary Chandler nominated Lafever for the post. No other nominations were made.

Lafever was originally elected vice mayor of Erwin following a unanimous vote in January 2019 and has been reelected every year by his BMA peers. 

“Thank you for the opportunity,” Lafever said at Monday’s meeting.

Sidewalk funding

The BMA also learned that the Town of Erwin had secured a grant to fund up to $857,796.16 for a new sidewalk in Erwin. 

“We were able to secure a TDOT grant that will allow us to create a new sidewalk in front of Food Lion,” announced Erwin Mayor Glenn White.

Town of Erwin City Recorder Doris Hensley expressed her delight seeing the sidewalk project receive funding. 

“This is something that has been in the works for a long time,” Hensley said. “We are finally ready to move forward with it.”

White confirmed that Erwin has already submitted a request for grant funding to go towards repairs of older sidewalks throughout the town.

Chamber requests

The BMA also heard an update from the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce on upcoming 2022 events. 

“We are requesting road closures and special requests for several events,” said Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp. “We have our annual Achin’ for the Bacon 5K River Run event coming up on June 25.”

Delp added that the Chamber is also planning the 45th annual Apple Festival for Oct.7 – 8, the Christmas Parade for Nov. 26 and the yearly Christmas Tree Lighting for Dec. 2.

The BMA voted unanimously to allow police protection during the Achin’ for the Bacon 5K River Run in June. The BMA will consider the other dates and requests at a future meeting.

YMCA funding request

The BMA also heard from the Unicoi County Family YMCA during Monday’s meeting. 

“About 50 percent of our children need assistance,” explained YMCA Executive Director Robert Kell. “We are looking to fence in our outdoor play area.”

Kell said the fencing would allow the local YMCA to help more children and ensure their safety. 

“We are looking at about $30,000 total for the fencing and other needs such as licensing,” Kell said. “I am looking to ask other entities as well for funding. We are very fortunate to have you guys on board and what you do for the YMCA.”

White expressed interest in the project once all municipalities in Unicoi County are on board. 

“We won’t be voting on this tonight,” White said. “When you talk to the other municipalities, let us know.”

No vote was made on funding for the YMCA during Monday’s meeting.

The BMA concluded Monday’s meeting by voting unanimously to name Bob Lafever to the Erwin Housing Board for the next four years with Mark Lafever abstaining from the vote.