Rhea County economic council seeks new director

Rhea County economic council seeks new director

August 29th, 2013 by Kimberly McMillian in Local Regional News

David Robbins stands near his keyboardist father Hargus "Pig" Robbins, while Spring City, TN Mayor Billy Ray Patton presented him with keys to the city. Robbins, a Spring City native was inducted into the CMHF in October 2012. (Pictured in background L-R) Jim Reed, president of the museum foundation, holds the Country Music Hall of Fame plaque presented to the museum in Robbins' honor, with his brothers Earl, Boyd and Forrest offering their support, during a Sunday afternoon ceremony. The museum display will be available by Saturday, September 7.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

DAYTON, Tenn. -- Rhea County economic officials are interviewing candidates to replace the former director of the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, that panel's chairman said.

"We're still in our executive director replacement process," Roger Panoz said at the council's monthly meeting earlier this week.

Last month, the council's former executive director, John Payne, resigned the week after the panel's July meeting. He had been hired to replace Raymond Walker in December 2011.

After the meeting, Panoz said members of the board had reviewed qualified candidates in the past month, with no consensus on a candidate yet. He said they are looking for the "right energy and fortitude" from the next director.

Payne had worked to obtain a $15,000 state Three-Star economic and community development grant and to develop RetireTN brochures. Panoz said that they hadn't received the grant money yet, and that the brochures will be completed later this year.

County Executive George Thacker said a state meeting with mayors and leaders had revealed that an increased focus on local parks would boost tourism.

"Parks are what people look at" whenever they visit or pass through cities, he said.

In other matters, Guy Denton, a representative of last week's Rhea County Fair, said more than 1,400 people attended the activities.

Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said that city's council would review expanding the Dayton City Elementary School during its Sept. 9 meeting.

Also, Spring City will undergo water line extensions later this year, Mayor Billy Ray Patton said.

He said about 50 customers will benefit from the work.

Patton also noted that Spring City native and keyboardist Hargus "Pig" Robbins, a recent inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, was given the keys to the city Sunday.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.