EDC Director talks jobs with Kiwanis

Haynes Ellott

By Lesley Hughes
star staff

  Elizabethton/Carter County Economic Development Director Haynes Elliott spoke to members of the local Kiwanis Club about the status of jobs and industry in Elizabethton and Carter County on Tuesday at their noon meeting.
  Elliott planned to introduce Vickie Brown, public relations representative for Lowe's Home Improvement, but she did not appear for the program. Elliott spoke to members about plans for Lowe's and various local companies that have an expanded employee base, shifts, and payroll.
  The future home of Lowe's is currently under construction behind the United States Post Office, 901 West Elk Ave. "There is a street that comes in at Hudson Drive, goes by the new Super Wal-Mart, and comes behind the post office and comes all the way out to where the present Wal-Mart is," Elliott said.
  Concerns over traffic problems at Hudson Avenue and the stop light at the new Super Wal-Mart have prompted the city of Elizabethton to look into installing a traffic light at the intersection of Wallace Avenue and West Elk Avenue.
  "The street, Tony Buller Road, will come out where the Bemberg traffic light is, so you will have that light. We are working on trying to get a traffic light in front of Wallace Avenue. We have got about 31,000 people on Elk Avenue. This includes the big truck traffic that comes from our industry and from North Carolina. The Northern Bypass, when and if it is finished, you will have all your truck traffic and they can shoot straight to I-26 and wouldn't be going through downtown. That's a heck of a traffic pattern if it all goes down Elk Avenue," Elliott said.
  He also told members about an idea to construct a bridge from the Northern Connector to the Cherokee Industrial Park, giving motorists a chance to exit the Northern Connector into Elizabethton's plethora of shopping and dining locations.
  He said Lowe's plans to employ 276 people, but will give 26 employees from the Johnson City location a chance to work at the Elizabethton store. When Super Wal-Mart opens, approximately 200 new employees will be hired.
  "Incidentally, Magic Mart has signed a deal, finally, with Wal-Mart to take their building, which is a hundred and some thousand square feet. I never thought it would work because Wal-Mart does not want to sell to their competition, but basically they are going to be selling to them," Elliott said.