Tracy City eyes $300,000 loan for downtown project

Tracy City eyes $300,000 loan for downtown project

May 16th, 2013 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Erik Ludvigsen. originally form Denmark, sits inside Dutch-Maid Bakery in Tracy City, Tenn., Wednesday. Ludvigsen visits the bakery often to drink coffee and read books and sits at the same table every time. Tracy City is considering funding for a townwide face-lift.

Photo by Connor Choate/Times Free Press.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Tracy City, Tenn., officials will meet Friday to discuss a $300,000 loan that could be put with $1.2 million in grant money to fund major portions of an unprecedented townwide face-lift.

Alderman Seth Layne said a clock is ticking on some of the grant money, and he anticipates losing one or two of the grants when a handful of them run out Aug. 31 and funds are returned to their sources.

"The loan would take care of the matching money for all the grants we have," Layne said Wednesday of 20 percent local government matches required in the grants. "We've had some of these grants for a long time."

But there is some opposition from fellow Aldermen Kevin Meeks and Michael Price, Layne said.

Meeks and Price could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Layne said the men are concerned about borrowing so much money in a capital outlay note and needs for renovations at City Hall.

"I think it's uncertainty and fear of wasting money," Layne said of the pair's position. "But we can't have anything in the city without taking a little risk."

He predicted a split vote when the matter comes up Friday night.

Layne said projects to build new sidewalks, improve the old Grundy County High School building, install street lighting, extend the Mountain Goat Trail into town and other developing beautification efforts are gaining support among Tracy City residents.

He said the present scope of work in the pending projects could change as officials review ideas and other proposals from a steering committee formed when the town was accepted into the state's "Tennessee Downtowns" program earlier this year.

Steering committee secretary Nadene Moore said the group's work will further any ongoing work. The committee identified five locations as important historic sites, including areas in the present project area.

Moore said she hopes all the grants can be retained but she, like Layne, is all but certain at least one or two will fall to their deadlines. She's anxious to see the results of discussions on the proposed loan idea, she said.

The Board of Aldermen will meet Friday at 6:30 p.m. CDT at City Hall on Main Street.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/ben.benton1 and at twitter.com/BenBenton.