My Turn

Story published: 07-24-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

We must all do our part to keep Johnson County beautiful

By Paula Walter

Johnson County, home to rolling hills, hollows and mountaintops is known for its spectacular beauty. A place with four distinct seasons, this area of the country is without a doubt breathtaking. One of my favorite views is off my front porch where I can watch the shadows dance on the mountain ridge as the afternoon sun begins to sink in the sky. Looking east outside my bedroom window, I watch subtle shades of pink and blue begin to streak across the mountain sky each morning as the sun begins to rise.

While most people will agree the county is lacking in attractions such as shopping, amusement parks and movie theaters, it is the vast beauty of our county that draws visitors. We donít have a lot of businesses but we have incredible access to the great outdoors. The natural beauty of Johnson County is its biggest asset. With the opening of Doe Mountain for recreational use and the TBB Iron Man team training in the county, our area will begin to draw more and more visitors.

I have an extremely difficult time understanding that despite being so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area, why are there pockets of the county where people seem to have no respect or concern for where they live? It doesnít matter what direction you go and you will find areas with rusted trucks and automobiles, piles of tires, broken appliances and even mattresses rotting up against abandoned houses. I have wandered into areas on assignments and have found evidence of rodents, trash dumps in front yards and inhabited dilapidated singlewide trailers sitting perilously on a cut out section of the mountainside. I have come across properties where literally the scrap metal on a portion of their land could potentially be turned into thousands and thousands of dollars.

I totally understand the concept of why people hold onto objects. Maybe you might need a part out of an old washer or from a vehicle that no longer runs. I get that. I grew up with parents that lived through the Great Depression and so I truly comprehend not letting anything go to waste. What I donít understand is why does keeping items for possible future use have to be such an eyesore? Why canít it be organized, put in storage buildings or neatly contained instead of being destroyed due to weather conditions and even vandalism?

I just canít get my brain wrapped around the concept that there are no ordinances in the county, although they do exist in Mountain City. This topic seems to be a bone of contention with the county commissioners. There appears to be little, if any, support for regulations in place with regard to trash, tire dumping, or even abandoned trailers and houses that are literally falling apart. Just because you may keep items within your property boundaries doesnít mean they arenít an eyesore for the rest of your neighbors and fellow Johnson Countians.

Each and every one of us needs to do our part in preserving the incredible natural beauty of Johnson County.