"Ole Blue" Christmas Tree to be AXED

Preserving or destroying the Past!

By: Pat Hunter

At first glance, it looks like a postcard scene of vintage Americana, a historic town square with a Loudon Courthouse, water fountain and a lighting post, and a beautiful, stately "Ole Blue" Spruce Christmas tree.

It's hard too imagine the unthinkable but plans are currently underway by Loudon City Fathers and some from the business community to cut down Ole Blue and renovate the Loudon Fountain. This grand Blue Spruce has been admired by children, adults, residents, shoppers, tourist and visitors. Blue Spruce trees are not native to Tennessee and take a long time to reach the height of Loudon's Blue Spruce. With its silvery-blue needles, its pyramidal shape, beauty and presence, which makes the Blue Spruce a classic choice for a Christmas tree.

Plans are Buzzing 

At a recent Jan 24th, Loudon County Economic Development Agency (EDA) Board meeting, an update was given about the Greenway Fountain Revitalization Project in the historic downtown square of Loudon City.

EDA personnel mentioned how businessman Grayling Littleton is interested in revitalizing the Loudon Fountain project. Littleton plans to give $10,000 a portion of the match for the project. Littleton wants to help the city out, Kathy Knight, EDA assistant director commented. She asked that Littleton be recognized for his efforts. According to EDA Director Pat Phillips, another donor is considering giving money for the Fountain renovation, $5000 one year and another $5000 the following year. For the time being, Phillips wants to keep the donor's name anonymous.

EDA board member Lynn Mills (Loudon Utility-Loudon City mgr.) thanked Kathy Knight for her extensive work, countless hours, updates and presentation on the Greenway Fountain Project. Specifications, plans and other paperwork were sent to Nashville and Regional Office for review and hopefully would be under construction by late spring, according to Phillips.

Mills shared additional details about the project. According to Mills, the old fountain would be removed completely and a new filtering system and pump would be installed. There are also plans to include a new sign pole and "take out the Christmas Tree" and new landscaping. Mayor Inky Swiney commented, that'll be a fight, as he chuckled! That's a very nice Christmas tree, added Lenoir City administrator Dale Hurst. Where's the humor in chopping down a stately tree which is marketed as a "Greenway" project?

Kathy Knight quickly interjected that there would be space reserved for a Christmas tree. She and EDA Chairman, County Mayor Doyle Arp have talked about incorporating the Courthouse area at Christmas time to do some things.

For years, school children worked on class projects to design and craft Christmas ornaments to adorn Ole Blue to the delight of motorists, residents and visitors. Preserving or destroying the past in any form is often a contentious issue. Imagine, cutting down the beautiful old stately Christmas tree in downtown Historic Loudon Square and replacing it with something new, somewhere else, all in the name of PRESERVATION and PROGRESS!

If you would like to keep Ole Blue from the chain saw and harms way, you are urged to voice your concerns to Loudon City officials. Phone and fax numbers and email address below. Thank you.

City of Loudon

Loudon City Hall, 201 Alma Place, Loudon, TN 37774
Phone: (865) 458-2091, Fax: (865) 458-6781

Lynn Mills, City Manager: Email address: lynn.mills@loudonutilities.org  Phone: (865) 458-2033

Bernie R. “Inky” Swiney, Mayor,   Address: 101 Harrison Bend Rd., Loudon, TN  37774 Phone: 458-2310

Gene Lambert, Vice Mayor
Address: 1014 Mulberry Street, Loudon, TN 37774; Phone: (865) 458-3040

Lewis Garner, Councilmember
Address: 704 Main Street, Loudon, TN 37774; Phone: (865) 458-9424

Lynn Millsaps, Councilmember
Address: 450 Mason Lane, Loudon, TN 37774; Phone: (865) 458-2033

Mike Cartright, Councilmember

Address: 4432 River Rd., Loudon, TN  37774, Phone: 458.5583