PIGEON FORGE – For Pigeon Forge City officials, the political focus for 2006 will remain the same as previous years: boosting tourism.
Mayor Ralph Chance said that he wants to continue focusing on what has been a winning equation for his city.”We’ll continue to work on getting tax-generating businesses that would be complementary to the tourism industry to locate in Pigeon Forge,” he said. “Also, in that same line, [we want] to work with existing businesses to make sure we are moving in the right direction and that we are trying new markets, through advertising, that are a benefit to everyone.”Chance also wants to “continue working with the local citizens . . . to let them constantly know they have an ear and input into our future and growth,” he said.”The main thing is to continue to be real careful with your resources and infrastructure,” Chance said. “Anything we do is not for the short-term, it’s for the long range.”City Manager Earlene Teaster said she and her staff will be working closely with the state during 2006.”I’m looking forward to the finalization of our Central Business Improvement District application and just continuing to work to further the growth of the city.”The application that Teaster mentioned currently proposes a 14-project building program that would cost the city up to $554 million, including interest, over 30 years. Teaster has said the city will make changes, including possible cuts to the proposal based on expected state input.The program would rely on a funding mechanism provided by the Convention Center and Tourism Development Financing Act of 1998. If approved, Pigeon Forge would receive a portion of sales tax revenues that would normally flow to the state to pay for the bond issues needed. Other issues that will occupy city officials in 2006 include the “proposed expansion of our wastewater system,” Teaster said. “We’ve got to continue diligently working to expand our wastewater plant in order to continue growth.”Facilitating tourism will also remain a focus for Teaster.”I personally want to continue to support the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism because through November of 2005, we had enjoyed a 9 percent increase in business [over a year before].”* firstname.lastname@example.org
Â©The Mountain Press 2006