Remember The Alamo

In early 1836, less than 200 loyal and dedicated Americans, including 32 Tennessee Volunteers, found themselves surrounded by 6000 Mexicans in a small mission on the Texas frontier. The outcome of this encounter was less than positive for the Americans who chose to hold the fort. Before anyone accuses me of being racist, prejudice or anti Mexican, I am just reporting a historical fact with hopes to present a present reality.

While an elected official, I was always supportive of the building of new facilities, when needed to better serve the citizens. I supported a new library, health department, parking lots for county facilities, senior citizens center, convenience center, sewer systems, etc. I believe if the tax payers see where their money is going they are more likely to be supportive of those in charge of over seeing the county funds. That's why, when Lenoir City officials announced that they were considering a new City Hall building, I find myself in agreement. There is no question that a new facility is badly needed. The current facility has some nearly irreparable problems that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct. The building probably could not even be brought up to meet the current standards for Americans With Disabilities (ADA). The interior of the building is already so confined that there is hardly room to pass another person in the hall ways. They have squeezed out about all they can in this old bank building. A new facility is needed.

Obviously, city officials having determined the need for a new facility, have decided to build the new building in the down town district just a half block south of their current location. This is where officials should take a hard long think about the wisdom of the proposed new location.

It is indisputable and irrefutable that the down town district is rapidly being populated by the Mexican community. A quick drive around the down town area will readily provide evidence to this fact. Not only are the residential areas rapidly becoming predominately Hispanic, but so too are the businesses which are springing up almost weekly to accommodate the  needs of the growing Hispanic population. In fact one of the buildings that will have to be acquired by the city for their future new Safety Building was just recently purchased by a local Mexican who is currently remodeling the 6000 square foot building for a Mexican grocery store. The owner reported that he had paid $300,000.00 for the building and expects to spend another $100,000.00 on the renovations. The gentleman who owns the building, who's name I cannot pronounce,  stated that if the city wants his building, "they will need to be prepared to pay a lot." The continued expansion of our Mexican brothers and sisters through the down town area shows no sign of slowing but to the contrary seems to be picking up steam.

In anybody's observation, the real new growth in Lenoir City is the 321 corridor and I strongly suspect that either of the two big developers, Bob Overholt or Ed Loy would be more than happy to give the city a couple of acres to locate the new City Hall within their developments. In fact they might even give the city incentives to join their development. It would be a feather in any developers hat to be able to market their development as being anchored by a new City Hall complex. As the law requires, the city could still relocate the fire hall to the proposed Broadway location entirely contained between Town Creek and Grand Street and not have to dislocate any fixed businesses. Marty Fugate, owner of the car lot on the proposed site, might even want to buy the old city hall building to relocate his previously owned automobile business there.

While most would agree that a new facility is needed, our city fathers might be well advised to closely consider the location of a new City Hall. One member of the City Hall Study Committee noted that the current plan was hoped to accommodate the city's municipal needs for twenty or thirty years. Would anyone care to venture what the demographics of down town Lenoir City will be in twenty or thirty years?

Don't forget what happened to the last group of loyalist who were determined to hold the fort.