Loudon City Vandalism – A big Problem that’s Growing
By: Pat Hunter

Loudon City Workshop, April 9, 2007, 6:30 p.m.

With more growth and more people, come big city headaches and woes. At the April workshop meeting, council members, Police Chief Webb and Recreation Director Mark Harrell aired concerns about the ever-growing vandalism problem plaguing Loudon City. Vandals are defacing public property around the new senior citizens center. A light, which was recently replaced, was broken almost instantly causing concern with officials.

New lighting is proposed. Under consideration, the possibility and cost of adding security cameras to catch the culprits behind this rash of crime. Certain activities are occurring in the pitch dark in the Legion’s Park area around the tennis court area, officials said. Graffiti is also quickly becoming a big problem. The recreation director suggested that once the young vandals are caught and processed through the court and juvenile system that juveniles help with community service and clean up. Loudon City officials all seem to be on the same page looking for solutions to this growing problem. Officials are hoping that citizens will become more involved and inform the police when they see vandals destroying public property rather than looking the other way.

The Performing Art’s Center Vandalized, too:

Recreation Director Mark Harrell said that the performing arts center (Tate & Lyle) was vandalized and that the culprits were caught thanks to a concerned citizen, who informed authorities. The vandals will be required to paint the fence with two coats of paint as punishment. Work will be completed by late summer. Much discussion was about what color to paint the fence, black or metallic, and black won out!  Rick Dover, dubbed by Pat Phillips, EDA director as the “Donald” Trump of Loudon, will donate materials to paint the fence.  

$1.5 Million Check’s in the Mail for a new 911 building:

Chief Webb, a member of the 911 Board invited all officials and VIPS to a catered lunch, at noon on Wednesday April 11, 2007, at the Loudon County Justice Center. The 911 Board will receive a $1.5 Million check to build a new facility for 911. Federal and state officials are expected to attend but Chief Webb would not drop any names about who is on the Who’s Who list.

$105,000 Grant to Fix up Fountain in downtown Loudon City: 

Loudon City council will approve a matching grant at its next city council meeting. Plans are underway to revitalize the downtown fountain. The city will have to spend about 20% on its match for the grant. 

Downtown Revitalization Around Courthouse:

Plans are underway to tap into a revitalization project for Downtown Loudon City; a one-block area all around the old Courthouse Square is the target area. Everything is very sketchy but the money will be come from a match based on the dollar amount of taxes generated from commercial businesses in that surrounding area. City officials displayed great enthusiasm about this proposed project. A map is available at the Loudon City manager’s office of the affected area.

Huntington Park Drive Street Repairs - Very Costly:

The planning commission has recommended acceptance of the road and right of way in Huntington Business Park however, councilman Charlie Brown expressed concerns about this matter because the road will require extensive costly repairs estimated at about $1 Million.

Air Quality a Top Priority with Mr. Deeder Easter, Newest member to the air quality task force (AQTF):

At the last Loudon County Air Quality Task Force (AQTF) meeting, Dr. Bud Guider said that he would attend Loudon City and Lenoir City’s workshop to address health issues and fine particle pollution. Dr. Guider, medical community member, did not attend Loudon City’s workshop meeting.

“Deeder” as his friends and neighbors know him, is Loudon City’s representatives and one of its newest members to the air quality task force. Deeder Easter attended the workshop meeting to share concerns about air quality. He handed out more information about state and county regulations concerning open burning, fine particulate pollution and health related issues.

Easter emphasized the need for city officials to consider implementing new regulations to curb open burning by developers. He said that industry expansions could be affected because of Loudon County’s non- attainment (non-compliance) of federal ambient air regulations governing fine particle pollution.

Open burning adds to fine particle PM 2.5 particulate matters, this pollution is very harmful to the health of people of all ages from our youth to seniors. City councilmen said that they would re-consider an open burning ban at next month’s workshop meeting.

Loudon City Police & Off Duty Activities:    

Councilman Charlie Brown aired his concerns about Loudon City police and off-hour police activities and Maremont employees. Chief Webb said that Maremont Corp. was reimbursing Loudon City for having extra police patrols on weekends at the residence of certain employees, who felt that they were being harassed. Allegations of shootings and threats were discussed. Webb said that it was standard practice to furnish extra police services to industry and business making requests and for business or industry to reimburse the city for services rendered. He said that extra police service had also been furnished to Kimberly Clark after an employee was fired. Some council members expressed concerned about liability issues that this might pose to the city.