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Harriman ready for new list of longterm goals

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By Cindy Simpson

Renovating the Princess Theatre and re-establishing the city’s Industrial Development Board are two items Harriman officials can check off their list of longterm goals.

“We are at a point now we need to re-establish the goals and objectives,” Councilman Lonnie Wright said.

Harriman City Council will revisit the city’s longterm vision during a Tuesday workshop.
The workshop starts at 6 p.m. in Harriman Municipal Office Complex.

“We have knocked a couple of them off,” Mayor Chris Mason said about the goals previously established.

“I do want to remind everyone we have set aside 20 percent of the (sale of) property downtown to go toward demolition of downtown buildings, and another 20 percent of beautification of downtown.”

Councilman J.D. Sampson, a big advocate for developing the Emory River frontage, was pleased to see what topped the old list.

“Using the river was No. 1,” he said. “It kind of surprised me.”

The city has made progress in moving forward with developing the riverfront.

TVA did a study of the riverfront and recommended recreational use for the area, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently placed the former American Kraft Papermill on the National Priorities List for cleanup with federal dollars.

“The cleanup is not a quick process,” Mason reminded council members. “They think it will be cleaned up within six years. This is the best we can do unless the citizens of Harriman want to pay for the cleanup.”

Sampson is anxious to get started.

“I’d like to think about some of the things we can do downtown,” he said. “I got one or two ideas.”

They includes building a new two-story community center near downtown, complete with a walking trail upstairs.

Sampson pointed out several buildings downtown in disrepair or burned by fire will need to come down.

He suggested moving forward with that and seeing the rebuilding of buildings further back on the property so a one-way street and parking could be created.

Sampson also took issue with the soccer field the city constructed.

While Harriman High School plays soccer there, the city has not started leagues. He suggested finding another use for the property.

Mason said he was most proud of the progress the city has made in human resources.

Harriman City Clerk Angie Skidmore has taken over that responsibility and done much toward employee law that protects the city from making mistakes that could lead to lawsuits, the mayor said.

Mason is also pleased with how the city handles capital project planning. He thinks developing a longterm capital projects plan is an important step.

It’s been done on a small scale with lighting, police cars and other things, but Mason wants to do a better job with paving and other areas.

The city paved 17 streets a few years ago, and Mason hopes when the city is free of some of its debt the city can use the revenues that went toward that to instead plan for paving projects.

Paving was a success, he said, because the city worked with Harriman Utility Board to do any utility work before the roads were paved.