KIMBALL, Tenn. — The Jasper Highlands mountaintop development is moving forward despite setbacks involving water availability and road conditions.
Dane Bradshaw, president of Thunder Enterprises, said the 4,000-acre gated community on Jasper Mountain is starting to overcome the negativity sparked by previous failed developments in Marion County such as Rarity Club and Sequatchie Pointe.
"Everybody's a little gun shy," he said. "All we can do is continue to do what we say we'll do."
One of the initial problems Jasper Highlands developers faced was getting water to the top of the mountain.
Chattanooga developer John "Thunder" Thornton attempted to lease some land along Timber Ridge Road from Kimball so a pump station could be installed near the town's water supply, but city leaders didn't warm to that idea.
Thunder Enterprises bought 25 private lots on the other side of the road instead.
"We've signed our contract with the South Pittsburg [Tenn.] Water Board," Bradshaw said. "We did what it would take to relieve people's concerns about if we're going to have water."
Water should be flowing freely to the development within the next 90 days, he said.
Recently, the poor condition of the older portions of Timber Ridge Road, which lies partly inside Kimball's city limits, has been a point of contention between city administrators and Thunder Enterprises.
Company officials made an informal offer to pay 25 percent of the costs to repair that part of the road.
Kimball Mayor David Jackson said in May that the development caused the damage, and the city has "no intention" of paying for repairs.
"We just want to be fair, and if there's something more that the City of Kimball would like for us to consider, I am all ears and willing to consider that," Thornton said.
The current state of the road is a "frequent objection" by interested buyers, Bradshaw said, but there is no set plan in place to address the issue.
"Our sole focus right now is getting the roads up top completed and getting water put in," he said.
Jasper Highlands will host an appointment-only tour of the massive development on Saturday.
Visitors will find a two-mile walking trail that connects a large waterfall on one end to an area with breathtaking views of the Sequatchie Valley called Pat's Summit on the other.
The heart of the development will include a recreational area with tennis and basketball courts and a multiuse field for such things as soccer, football or a small dog park.
The first 98 lots of Jasper Highlands have been sold, and more than 20 parcels have been purchased in the 110-lot second phase of the development.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.