By Kendal Groner
On Monday, Feb. 12, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the Erwin Great Outdoors Festival and events to be held on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5.
“People are getting really excited about it. We’ve booked a big headline for the day, and it should draw a lot of people downtown,” said Jamie Rice, RISE Erwin member. “We’re not going to shut the streets down until early Saturday morning instead of shutting them down Friday as well.”
Alderman Virgil Moore made a motion to approve the festival, and it was seconded by Alderwoman Rachelle Hyder-Shurtz before it unanimously passed.
Acting as the Erwin Beverage Board, the BMA later approved the sale of beer at the Erwin Great Outdoor Festival only within an approved designated area.
“Our festival is growing, and changing just a little bit,” said Rice. “We had an idea since we were going to have this big tent up for the Saturday festivity that we would use it on Friday night as well since it’s already there.”
There will be an outdoor movie shown promoting the designation of the Nolichucky River as a wild and scenic river, along with food trucks to kick off the Saturday festival.
“There won’t be road closures or anything like that Friday night, but we were hoping to serve beer on Friday in the designated area as well as Saturday,” Rice said.
Rice added that as in years prior, everything will be confined to the Gathering Place and only those with the appropriate ABC license would be permitted to serve beer.
Mayor Doris Hensley made a motion to approve the sale of beer at the Erwin Great Outdoors Festival between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, May 4, and between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. Alderman Gary Chandler seconded the motion, and it unanimously passed.
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The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution allowing the Town of Erwin to apply for the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant for additional signage and website development.
A motion was made by Alderman Moore and seconded by Alderman Chandler before it unanimously passed.
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The BMA also approved the appointment of Eric Garland to fulfill a vacancy on the Erwin Design Review Commission for a four year term.
“I look forward to working with him, and I think he’ll do a good job for the town,” Hensley said.
Alderman Moore made a motion to accept the appointment, and Alderwoman Hyder-Shurtz seconded the motion before it unanimously passed.
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The board approved a request to close the corner of Main Avenue and Gay Street to Church Street for the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Shindig, line dance for FFA Chapters of East Tennessee. The event will be held at the Bramble on Feb. 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“I think it’s an excellent reason to close that corner, and it will be exciting to bring other FFA members from out of the county into our county and show them what we have,” Hensley said.
Alderman Chandler made a motion to approve the road closer, and Alderwoman Hyder-Shurtz seconded before it unanimously passed.
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The board also approved a request by Sarah Shults to close the corner of Main Avenue and Gay Street to Church Street for a wedding held at the Bramble on May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the event of exceeding occupancy load within the Bramble.
“My main concern is we’re creating a precedent where anyone that wants to close the street can come in and close the street,” Hensley said. “We’re trying to keep business downtown and generate some revenue and that might discourage that some, but it’s up for the board to decide.”
Hensley asked Town of Erwin City Attorney Thomas Seeley if there would be any legal ramifications in closing the street because it was a private event.
“As long as there are alternative routes and the police chief believes it is acceptable, then I don’t think it would create any liability for the town,” Seeley said.
Alderwoman Hyder-Shurtz made a motion to approve the request and it was seconded by Alderman Moore before it unanimously passed.
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The board unanimously approved the approval of Tax Sale properties if no bid were received at the scheduled Tax Sale on March 21, 2018.
“I don’t think there will be any issue with this because it looks like they are all very good properties and I expect they will be sold,” Hensley said. “In case there is a property that doesn’t sell, we want to give approval to the city recorder to make a bid in the amount of the taxes due on the property.”
Alderman Chandler made a motion to consider the approval, and it was seconded by Alderwoman Hyder-Shurtz before it unanimously passed.