Since a fire that burned the dock at the Jackson County Park last January, Jackson Countians have wondered what will happen with the property. During a meeting on Jan. 4, Jackson County Commissioners discussed potential plans to utilize the insurance payout for the property.
The commissioners discussed two plans, one that would rebuild the dock system and another that would add a number of cabins to the property. According to the commission they are limited on what they are able to do with the property.
Jason Venable, the vice chairman of the commission, signaled during the meeting that he would prefer to add more cabins that would be available for camping.
There is also a proposal to rebuild the dock.
The director of the Jackson County Park, Carl Barnes stated that there are currently 125 individuals on a waiting list for camping at the site, and roughly 24–35 people on the waiting list for boating.
"Either way you go, you're going to make your money back," added Barnes.
Sarah Stahl, a representative from the Chamber of Commerce presented the commission a plan to redevelop parks in the county. The plan looks at two different possibilities.
The first, examines a way of how to develop the park independently to create the highest single ROI.
The second, builds out how to develop the park into a larger system, that would support tourism opportunities throughout Jackson County and potentially offer the highest return. Some measures that have already been taken to improve tourism in Jackson County was the creation of a road bike path that would take bikers to various locations throughout the county.
Stahl said that she felt the County did well throughout the 2020, despite a 20% deficiency as the state department of tourism projected a 50% decrease in tourism revenue from 2020. She also added that the number is potentially higher considering that Jackson County's projected tourism revenue was expected to increase during 2020.
The county has been receiving money from the insurance company for lost revenue ever since the fire.
The commission also discussed potential future plans for the Sportsman's Landing Property.
According to Johnathan Campbell, the parking lot for the property would require work to be able to support and sustain a parking lot.
The uses of the property are limited due to a contract with TVA that prevents building any structures that sit on foundations.
Venable suggested that before any improvements or adjustments are made to the property that the commission should input and feedback from those living near the area.
The commission decided to move the matter until the next work session and to begin planning for a community meeting to address Sportsman's Landing.
During the meeting, Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen, of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, brought a proposal to the commission to purchase a new metal detector for the county.
Harnen stated that the metal detector is not currently malfunctioning, but its age has raised concerns.
The new machine will be able to increase safety but allowing courthouse security to easily identify where a metal object is on a person passing through the metal detector.
According to Harnen, this will also allow for a faster entry for individuals into the courthouse by streamlining the security process for the courthouse.
The model of metal detector that the county is potentially going to purchase is below the state bid requirement for price and due to its width will be ADA compliant to allow wheelchair access through the metal detector.
Commissioners are also considering changes to how the County marks its vehicles.
According to state law the vehicles must be marked in a way that is permanent and allows anyone seeing the vehicle to know that it is a government vehicle. Due to how often Jackson County buys and sells its vehicles, this has provided a problem for the county in the past.
Commissioners are working on a way to mark the vehicles without potentially damaging paint and resale value.
The commission will meet again on Jan. 11.