Note: This story was last updated at 1:10 p.m. June 28.
LAKE CITY—Lake City is now Rocky Top, Tennessee.
For most people, Rocky Top has been, until now, the name of a bluegrass song that is wildly popular in East Tennessee and the unofficial anthem of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. Hikers might know it as a sub-peak of Thunderhead Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains. And shoppers might recognize it as the name of a bookstore, or gas station, or wine trail, or one of many other businesses registered in Tennessee.
But officials and business leaders here have worked for months to make their town to first to use it in a city name.
The idea is to use the name change to spur developments along Interstate 75 that could be worth up to $237 million. Proposed projects include an indoor and outdoor water park, interactive theater with a children’s museum, a coal miners music theater, and laser tag, among other things. Officials have said those developments—which have also included other options such as a hotel, restaurant, and candy company—won’t happen without the name change.
Residents hope the change and subsequent developments will create jobs, add sales tax revenues, and provide a vital economic boost to this depressed town of 1,800 people in northern Anderson County. [Read more…]