10Listens tour stops in Loudon County

The WBIR 10Listens tour stopped in Loudon County on Tuesday, an opportunity for residents to stop by our table in downtown Lenoir City and tell us about the concerns in their community.

We spoke with Lenoir City mayor Tony Aikens about the ongoing construction in the downtown area.

They have been working on a city scape project for some time, and work is progressing. They are also building a new event center and a new city hall is in the works.

Aikens says another important project is the renovations happening to the War Memorial Building in downtown.

"We are excited about what's going on downtown. The War Memorial Building that was built for the veterans in the 50's, we are doing major renovations to it. Scheduled to be completed sometime by late October as well, so we got a lot of ribbon cuttings we are going to be doing," he says.

Aikens said he's been very thankful all this could be accomplished without raising taxes or utility rates. A majority of the projects are being funded by grant money.

One issue that kept coming up as we talked to people was the need for a new Loudon Couny jail. The current one was recently decertified because of overcrowding.

Sheriff Tim Guider says the county needs a justice center--- with a new jail and courthouse.

On our tour of the jail, he pointed out mattresses in the hallways where some inmates have to sleep.

"It's a nightmare, it's a circus," he says.

Sheriff Guider wants people to know they aren't releasing inmates from jail because there's not enough space.

He says having a new jail would ensure and secure the safety of everyone, including he public, the deputies, and the inmates.

Sheriff Guider has present his request to the county commission, who should have a decision next month.

And to end our tour on a high note, residents were proud of one furry local. 

Jewel is a golden retriever who is a certified comfort dog. She is currently in Louisiana, offering some encouragement to flood victims.

Her team of handlers and caretakers from Christ our Savior Lutheran Church in Loudon are proud of her work.

They say Jewel offers compassion and has taught her handlers to be quiet and to listen and let her do the comforting in a time of need.

The 10Listens tour stops in Sevierville next week. If you can't make it out to one of our stops, you can e-mail ideas to 10Listens@wbir.com or call 865-544-3284.

Also, join in the #10Listens conversation on Twitter and Facebook.