WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today
On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted unanimously to allow Lake City to change its name to Rocky Top. The House bill sponsored by Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge passed 89-0.
The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75. Plans currently call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel, as well as other attractions.
The state Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the companion bill to the House version, which is being sponsored by Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge. If the Senate approves the measure as expected, the Lake City Council will have to vote again on the name change to ratify the private act that was endorsed Monday by the state House.
The name change is being challenged in U.S. District Court by House of Bryant Publications LLC, the Gatlinburg publisher of “Rocky Top”—a bluegrass tune, state song, and unofficial anthem for the University of Tennessee. House of Bryant filed a federal lawsuit in March that seeks to prevent the name change.