The only physician practicing on Lookout Mountain plans to stay on the mountain -- despite a proposal that fell through for a new "town center" that was due to house a new doctor's office.
Family practitioner Dr. Bill Moore Smith plans to build a new office at the corner of Lookout Mountain United Methodist Church at 1300 Lula Lake Road.
"The church ... they have voted to sell a piece of that parking lot to build [Smith's] office there," said Michael Hubble, superintendent for the Chattanooga District of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church.
"I think it's a win-win," Hubble said.
The church could use money from the land sale to pay for some needed maintenance, he said.
"Another reason why the church was willing to sell it, it was in the interest of keeping the doctor up on the mountain," Hubble said.
Smith has said his current office next to Fairyland Pharmacy is too small for his needs. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Smith's quest to find a location for a new office caused controversy after Lookout Mountain, Tenn., offered to sell him a one-acre parcel of town-owned land at the corner of Scenic Highway and South Watauga Lane known as Verlenden Park. About 150 people -- most of whom opposed selling the park -- packed into Lookout Mountain Elementary School's auditorium in September 2012 for a city meeting about the proposed land sale.
Smith also had considered opening his office in a town center proposed by developer Jimmy Chapin on the site of Lookout Mountain, Ga.'s current City Hall at 1214 Lula Lake Road. The town center also was going to be home to a grocery and new City Hall, police and fire station for Lookout Mountain, Ga.
But Chapin has pulled his proposal.
"He has officially withdrawn," City Clerk Cindy Roberts said.
Chapin couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday.
He requested $5,000 from the city to pay for the work he put into the town center plans. The City Council will discuss the request at its next meeting May 16.
Smith's plan to build the new office must be approved by city officials.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.