Work will begin next month on downtown improvements   

By Rozella Hardin
star staff
rhardin@starhq.com

  The Elizabethton Downtown Business Association is gearing up for the end of summer and fall season, when some aesthetic improvements are planned in the downtown business district.
  John Bunn, President of the EDBA, told members at a Thursday morning meeting that work should begin next month on the new street planters. Inmates from the Carter County Workcamp will do much of the work. He noted that funds for nine of the 20 planters have already been donated. "We hope to get all 20 donated, and use what funds we have in the treasury for the canopy re-dressing," he said.
  City Manager Charles Stahl, who attended the meeting, said the City would receive bids early next year for re-roofing the downtown canopy and correcting some of the problems such as drainage.
  "We are here to be as involved as you want us to be or as uninvolved as you want us to be," Stahl told the merchants attending.
  He gave a report on the Covered Bridge, noting that some work is still to be done, including new lighting and painting the bridge. "The inmates will do the painting, possibly, early next year," he said.
  The City Manager said he had requested a report from the chief engineer with the Tennessee Department of Transportation as to re-opening the historic structure to traffic. "I have heard from some who want it to stay closed, and I have head from others who would like to see it open to daily routine traffic. We will wait until we hear from the TDOT engineer before we make any decision," he said.
  About the proposed Veterans Walkway, Stahl said it was his understanding, the committee was still in the process of raising funds, but work could possibly begin sometime this fall on the walkway.
  Merchants also discussed the type of music to be piped into the downtown sound system and what radio station to use. Some merchants preferred easy-listening and classical music as opposed to country music, which is played by WBEJ-Radio, the station which now supplies the street music. Bunn said the matter would be discussed further at the August meeting and a decision perhaps will be made at that time.
  Also, Bunn announced that committees will be updated at that time so planning can begin on the annual fall festival and a coordinated Christmas open house by downtown business owners. The fall festival is tentatively planned for the last weekend in October.
  "We have a beautiful downtown, and we are drawing a large number of people from North Carolina. We need to be excited about our town," said Bunn.
  The EDBA will meet again on August 5 at 8:30 a.m. at The Coffee Company.