By Ben Lawson
County commissioners met with members of the community Tuesday morning to hear discussion concerning the ongoing hunt for a new convienence center.
The meeting was held at Bells Chapel Church, which sits adjacent to one of the more often discussed potential locations. Previous information indicated that property’s owner had withdrawn the sale offer due to fears of interfering with the church.
However, Communication Coordinator Perrin Anderson said that any offer made would be seriously considered due to the hurdles the committee has faced in locating a new site that pleases as many people as possible.
About 15 to 20 members of the community were at the meeting and the majority appeared to be against the Bell Chapel Lane location.
Wanda Sue Gibson, a Bells Chapel Church member, indicated that the church was given first choice to purchase the property but did not currently have the funds.
“Nobody wants (the waste site) here,” she said. “It puts a bad light on the church.”
She and fellow church member Harold Reagan stressed their understanding of the pressing need for a new convenience center and said the church hopes a suitable one can be found. But they remained adamant that one near the church would not work.
“Our main problem is a bad traffic situation,” Reagan said in reference to the narrow Bell Chapel Lane intersection with Old Sevierville Pike. “We see bad wrecks here all the time.”
Children were another concern, as many from surrounding neighborhoods are welcome to use the church’s playground. The church members felt that increased traffic could put them in harm’s way.
Reagan felt the meeting was productive.
“We’re very appreciative that Bill Oakes and the others took time to listen to us,” he said.
The Bell Chapel site is only one of many currently under review. Anderson couldn’t say yet if the meeting would result in it being taken out of consideration. For now, like the others, it will remain “under advisement.”
Community Expresses Site Concerns
By Ben Lawson