Information from WYSH Radio
The Lake City Council will meet at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) to discuss and vote on the proposal to change the city’s name to Rocky Top as the first step toward turning the small town into a tourist destination.
Developers have proposed a $20 million first phase of the project that could include attractions like a theater, a water park, and a large restaurant. The name change is widely expected to be approved during today’s meeting.
If it is, the measure will be sent to the General Assembly in Nashville for its approval when the next legislative session begins in January. If state lawmakers sign off on the change, it will be sent back to the City Council for ratification.
Developers say the project can only move forward if the name change is approved because of the marketing possibilities of the name “Rocky Top, Tennessee.”
The project was first envisioned by Knoxville businessman Buddy Warren, but following a car accident in which he was seriously injured, Knoxville artist Brad Coriell has taken the lead. Developers say they are prepared to move forward, having already retained an attorney and an architect, pending the approval of the name change.
The idea has garnered widespread support thus far with a few exceptions, most notably from the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, an organization that works to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the area. Officials with the foundation say that changing the city’s name would be akin to abandoning that heritage. However, they have also said that if the project does come to fruition, they would not stand in its way as the economic benefits for the region could be significant.
Officials also say that even if the development does not move forward, the city could still see some benefit from simply changing its name as several businesses have expressed interest in moving there if Lake City becomes Rocky Top. The City Council will meet at 5 p.m. at Lake City Town Hall.
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