Bank plans to revamp Sycamore Street branch


Photo By Thomas Wilson
Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank will undergo a major renovation next year, adding size and two new drive-through lanes.

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com
Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank has submitted a site plan request to the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission to totally renovate the bank's 112 N. Sycamore St. location.
"We are planning to make some very expansive changes to the facility," said Shirley Hughes, president of Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank.
Hughes said the bank will grow into a much larger scale building. Renovation would add a sizable amount of square footage to the Sycamore Street facility and give the building's facade a "new facelift." The update will add two extra drive through lanes for banking on the go and an automatic teller machine (ATM).
Property located behind Tetrick Funeral Home on East E Street will be utilized for additional customer and employee parking, she said. Hughes said bank officials were in the process of finalizing the design drawings and expected to begin construction in spring 2004. Elizabethton Federal also will petition the Elizabethton Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) tonight to grant front and side set backs for the building project. A variance allows a property developer to sidestep the city's requirement for the distance in feet a structure must be built away from the property line.
Hughes said bank officials elected to renovate rather than build new after considering the bank's community ties.
"These are our roots so we have elected to stay in this downtown area," she said. "We've evaluated whether to build from the ground up or improve where we are and we are going to stay where the roots are."
Two other citizens will also be seeking site plan approval by the commission and variances from the BZA. Daniel Lewis and Rob Stennett propose site plan approval to develop storage buildings at 629 Sycamore St. from the planning commission. The development is apparently going to require front, rear and side yard set back variances. Bob Brumit has also requested site plan approval from the commission and a variance on side yard set back requirements from BZA.
The planning commission will also hold a public hearing at its monthly meeting tonight to consider installing speed bumps at several strategic locations around the city.
In the past, the installation of speed bumps has been a bone of contention between some citizens and city planners. While city officials believe the installation of speed bumps, aka "traffic calming devices", boosts safety, some residents feel it only makes more painstaking the task of getting from point A to point B in areas with minimal traffic.
Streets currently considered for speed bump installation include:
* West C Street between Bemberg Avenue and Eisenhour Street
* West Riverview Drive between Ash Street and Roan Street
* Locust Street between Brandon Street and Race Street
* Bluefield Avenue between Carriger Avenue and Siam Road
* Race Street between North Pine Street and North Lynn Avenue
* Riverview Drive between Ingram Street and Siam Road.
The city installed speed bumps as part of the West Mill Street refurbishment to neutralize travelers using the street as a by-pass around West Elk Avenue and Broad Street.