Swan Pond will be made right -- when pigs fly!

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I feel a great deal of empathy for the residents of Swan Pond, who had their lives turned upside down from the ash spill.

The recent letter from a resident, Sarah McCoin, prompted me to write.

I agree that it would be a dream come true to have TVA return your area to what it once was, or make it even better. But sadly, TVA does not work that way.

The money that could have been used to help Swan Pond residents is being wasted on projects TVA considers far more important.

Take, for example, three small TVA campsites on Bowman Bend Road, just past the Caney Creek bridge.

Residents in this area have tried for many years to get TVA to close them because they are a public nuisance.

We told TVA 90 percent of the people who camp there are from other counties.

We all attended meetings in Knoxville, provided the committee with photos of buckets of human feces that were dumped on the ground and in Watts Bar Lake by campers.

We had people who witnessed campers discharge their RV toilet tanks directly into the lake.

We provided photos of unbelievable amounts of trash, beer cans and drug paraphernalia left on the ground.

We called TVA police when we observed drug deals, underage drinking, drunken people fighting, screaming and shooting guns.

One neighbor had a gun pointed at his head when he asked them to turn down the music at 3 a.m.

We recently provided TVA with a police report showing that men were arrested for making meth on the site.

We’ve had people hiding there because they had warrants out for their arrest.

We wrote more than 60 letters, begging TVA to close the sites for our protection.

Here’s what we got:

• A porta-john for campers (placed one mile away).

• Truckloads of stone delivered so campers would not get mud on their tires.

• Expensive trash containers, which TVA bolted to cement pads near the sites.

• Repairs to asphalt to the sites, which TVA then decided that was not good enough, so the agency poured cement over that.

• Expensive signs welcoming campers to the sites.

• Steel brackets to close off the sites, which, a week later, workers removed  (changed their minds!).

Since spring, they have been paying county workers to pick up trash (weekly) on the campsites. (It’s a neverending job).

Our last complaint letter to TVA drew this response from Gregory Broyles, stewardship and property administration:

“County workers will pick up litter, garbage and other miscellaneous items from the site. The parcels are heavily used for informal recreation activities, such as bank fishing and camping. Unfortunately, this heavy use can result in trash, parking, and, sometimes unauthorized use or criminal behavior.”

How much money do you think is being spent on wages, materials and equipment to maintain these campsites?

There must be many, many more of them around the lakes, all being cleaned up, repaired, looking good for the people who will eventually trash them.

So, I ask you, does TVA care about the people who were affected by the ash spill?

Will they help all the folks who live in that area?

Sure — when pigs fly!

Judy Nelson