By BOB WEAVER, HORIZON Staffwriter
CELINA-Doris’s Diner hosted more than the “locals” as Tennesseee Governor Bill Haslam made a stop here last week to talk with the public, and city and county officials about the issues affecting Celina and Clay County.
“What should I know about the county here that I might not know, if you had the chance to tell the governor something, what would you tell him?” asked Haslam of the people in attendance.
The question of a traffic light or other change to the new intersection of highways 52 and 53 was raised and the governor acknowledged that four other people had mentioned the subject already.
State Rep. Kelly Keisling, also in attendance, rose to say that just that morning he had been in touch with Alan Wolfe, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Regional Traffic Engineer, who informed Keisling that a change was in the works.
In addition to Keisling, State Senator Mae Beavers, Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan, Celina Mayor Willie Kerr, Clay Chamber of Commerce Executive Ray Norris, and Clay County Election Commissioner Wanda Daniels were on hand to greet Haslam.
The Clay County stop was one of several last Tuesday as Haslam made his rounds in the Upper Cumberland (UC) also visiting Pickett, Jackson, and Overton counties.
In Picket County Haslam visited the Fitzgerald Glider Kits plant which he said was the more typical example of economic development in Tennessee; several smaller businesses that grow rather than a large installation such as Volkswagen in Chattanooga. Fitzgerald, who employs 82 people in Byrdstown, custom outfits new Freightliner, Peterbuilt, and Kenworth truck bodies with rebuilt engines and transmissions resulting in fuel and initial cost savings over an all-new truck.
In Livingston Haslam recommended a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant which would be combined with about the same amount of local funding for a water system improvement project including the repair of two water tanks, the purchase of a new pump, and lighting and electrical protection for four pumping stations. The project which will serve more than 10,000 people in that town.
The ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state and local governments providing resources to help development and economic growth in Tennessee’s Appalachian communities.