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City supports trail town project

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

News on Doe Mountain Recreation Area’s (DMRA) possible expansion has been making the headlines. Now the possibility of its trail town project may be becoming a reality sooner than the public may expect. Executive Director Shawn Lindsey went before the Mountain City Council to ask for its support during the Tuesday, January 4 council meeting.
According to Lindsey and recent survey statistics, more people would come to the area and stay longer if they had more ATV access. Additionally, 25 percent of these visitors are accompanied by those who would rather shop and take in local culture than hit the trails. He reports several investors are waiting on the official word to set up shop in the county. This includes a general store in town, a rental company, and a campground.
When discussing fears of change, Lindsey compared the effect to changes in Tuscany and across the state line in Damascus. The areas retained their heritage and atmosphere while still offering experiences for tourists. He explained that tourism brings in more money for current establishments, helps new businesses come to the area, creates jobs, and brings new activities for both tourists and locals to enjoy.
According to Lindsey, several local businesses have shown interest in this project and its possible effects. He specifically named TeamMates Pizza, Auto Zone, and The Beetroute Company. The current plan is to set an ATV route coming out by Burger King and work towards further expansions. The city approved the project unanimously and plans to hold a workshop to set specific details.
“I have no problem with this proposal,” Alderman Lawrence Keeble said and backed up by making the official motion.
One project set for the future is to expand trails to Watauga Lake. At this time, Lindsey sees no issues with this. The land mentioned already belongs to DMRA, and no clear obstacles have come to light as of this article.
The Mountain City Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall at 6:30 pm. For more information, visit mountaincitytn.org.

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