State and local dignitaries celebrate Doe Mountain acquisition
By Jonathan PleasantCounty Mayor Larry Potter hosted a Doe Mountain Celebration at the Johnson County Chamber Park last week in Doe Valley. Following the ongoing and successful battle to save the more than 8,600 acres that make up the Doe Mountain property, the celebration was held as an effort to recognize some of the organizations and individuals that made the 8.8 million dollar investment a possibility, most prominently Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.
Despite the recent heat wave, the event was a resounding success with many members of the county government, as well as visitors such as Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey and Cocke County Mayor Vaughn Moore attending as well. However, possibly one of the most noted guests to make an appearance was State Treasurer David Lillard along with Lt. Governor Ramsey himself.
Both Lillard and Ramsey were among the guest speakers along with Gabby Lynch from the Nature Conservancy and Dave Jones with the Tennessee Department of Tourism. As one of the few State Treasurers to have visited Johnson County on several occasions, Lillard seemed very excited to be a part of the Doe Mountain project citing its importance not only to the local community but the region as a whole. “I think it’s going to be a project that pays dividends not only for Johnson County and Mountain City but for all of East Tennessee for many generations to come. A hundred years from now people will say it was one of the better decisions that every one of the state and local officials made. It feels very historic and humbling to work with everyone in this area. It’s been a really great effort and has had outstanding support from the citizens, officials, and everyone involved.”
Frank Arnold with the Chamber of Commerce kicked off the ceremony with a prayer and invitation to take part in a very special Levi Retirees’ dinner featuring authentic Texas style barbeque. Entertainment was provided by Commissioner Jack Proffitt and his band, A Slice of Bluegrass. Along with Proffitt on guitar, the band featured Bob Mink on banjo, Barry Reece on mandolin, and Quint Reece on bass performing a selection of bluegrass tunes.
Following the dinner, Mayor Potter introduced the guest speakers, beginning with Bill Snodgrass, representing Congressman Phil Roe. Next up was Gabby Lynch with the Nature Conservancy, a major organization that helped secure the mountain by giving the state time to appropriate the funds. According to Lynch, “Lt. Governor Ramsey called the conservancy and asked if we could help and of course it was a no brainer. I’ve worked with the Conservancy for almost 20 years in Tennessee and I can honestly say that for a land deal like Doe, which is this big and this complicated, they never happen this fast. The reason why this did is because of the will of our elected leadership and the will of our community and all those who wanted to save the mountain. The way it all came together was a wonder to behold.”
Dave Jones, the East Tennessee Manager for the State Department of Tourism was next to address the audience, citing the importance that tourism will likely play on the local economy in the future, before handing the stage over to Treasurer Lillard and Lt. Governor Ramsey. As the key player in the whole deal, Mayor Potter presented Ramsey with a plaque recognizing his efforts and commitment to the Doe Mountain Project through its conclusion.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.