By Bethany Anderson
Doe Mountain Recreation Area Improvements are on the way thanks to a joint effort by DMRA, Johnson County Board of Commissioners, and now the Mountain City Board of Alderman.
Many were in attendance to show their support of the joint effort to gain a possible grant offered by the Governor’s office. Notable supporters and speakers included DMRA’s Frank Arnold and Tate Davis as well as Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor and State Senator Jon Lundberg (R from District 4). There were even some impassioned pleas from the crowd of supporters who spoke to their hopes of a partnership with the city to help achieve the grant.
The grant from the state would total $1 million and would require a $50,000 commitment from the town of Mountain City in addition to the money already committed by both the county and DMRA. The money could be paid out in installments of $12,500 per year for 4 years.
Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons expressed his concerns saying, “I think the town is looking for a return on our investment from sales tax dollars.”
Johnson County Mayor Taylor responded by saying, “My goal and my vision is to get those people in town and to the cash registers.”
According to DMRA Executive Director, Tate Davis, sales are up significantly this year as compared to last, and new related local businesses have been created and others have benefited from DMRA and their customers.
With the grant proposal due by May 14, the deadline is looming pretty soon. Mayor Parsons noted, “We have our budget meeting coming up and I’d recommend that we go ahead and support this.”
Alderman Jerry Jordan had a few questions asking, “4 years at $12.5, is that negotiable at all?” He then
added, “We want to work together, but how many years until we get that back in sales tax?”
Alderman Lawrence Keeble also expressed some concern saying, “We have so many other pressing issues that I’ll be frank, I can’t put this at the top of my list.” He also said, “With all the other things that we need in our town – pay raises for city employees, street repairs, and other things, I just can’t put it at the top of my list. I’m sorry.”
After more discussion and input from speakers, Mayor Parsons made a motion to commit the $50,000 clarifying, “If we can break that down in our budget.” The motion went to a vote and passed with all but Alderman Keeble voting “yes”. A crowd of those in attendance then broke out into applause and cheers, clearly happy with the resulting partnership between DMRA, Johnson County, and now the town of Mountain City.