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By DAMON LAWRENCE
Larry Walker is seeking information about a marina project being proposed near his neighborhood.
He attended Thursday night’s environmental review board meeting at the Roane County Courthouse hoping to learn more.
“We only found out about it just before Christmas,” Walker said. “We’re looking for information.”
The meeting brought out several people with an interest in the project. Besides Walker, Paul Cowell of Whitestone Country Inn, Kingston mayor and county commissioner Troy Beets and Kingston councilwoman Teresa Ferguson attended the meeting.
The discussion was on the proposed development of Long Island Marina, which would be off Paint Rock Ferry Road south of Kingston.
Paul Lequire of Marina & Dock Supply Inc. spoke about his company’s long-term plans for what he described as a multimillion-dollar project.
“A community, where there’ll be condos and homes and a marina,” Lequire said. “Some would like to see a restaurant out there, but that’s just if somebody comes along and wants to be involved in that.”
The first order of business, Lequire said, is putting in new docks. His company has filed an application for a permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The application is still pending.
“The docks are ready to hit the water the moment the permit hits the desk,” Lequire said.
With docks come boats and the potential for oil and gasoline spills. Other environmental issues that could arise are more development in the area, increased traffic and the disposal of trash and waste into the water.
Walker lives in Crestwood Estates, the neighborhood across the water from the proposed project.
He said he would like either TVA or the U.S. Corps of Engineers to have a public hearing on the project.
“I’ve sent letters to TVA, the Corps of Engineers asking for this and had no response,” he said.
Walker added that he will be following the issue closely and continue his calls for a public hearing.
Cowell spoke in favor of the project and said he believes it will have a positive impact on Roane County.
“It will certainly be an asset, I think, to Roane County,” Cowell said.
The city of Kingston has interest in the project because it’s within the city’s growth boundary.
The environmental review board has no authority over the project beyond making recommendations to the county commission.
One of the ERB members, Gail Okulczyk, said she doesn’t have a problem with the project as long as the developers follow the guidelines of TVA’s Clean Marina Initiative.
According to TVA’s Web site, the Clean Marina Initiative is a program designed to promote environmentally responsible marina and boating practices throughout the Tennessee River system.