No To Overholt?
Yes To Thorton?
Tennessee National, TN

When Dr. Bob Overholt was out begging for local government to pay for the roads in his proposed development, he might have been better off had he gone to Loudon City officials. They seem to be more willing to hand out tax dollars to developers than Lenoir City and Loudon County. Loudon committed to spend up to 1.3 million dollars to build a new road into the gated Tennessee National Development. Problem is, now Loudon wants the county to help pay for the road.

At Monday's commission meeting, 4/7/08, commissioners have an item on the agenda that if it passes will require the county to pay $390,000.00 to help pay for the new entrance to the golf community. Here's how it happened.

In the late nineteen nineties John Thorton partnered with a company called The Hines Group began plans for the current development now known as Tennessee National. They approached Loudon and Loudon County with a request to participate in building a new road to the development. Many things transpired over the years but ultimately both Loudon and Loudon County voted to pay for the road. Loudon to pay 70% and the county to pay 30%. The county resolution was passed on March 5th 2001. By November of that same year the Thorton/Hines project had stalled. Ultimately the project went belly up.

To his credit, former Commissioner Jerry Park realizing the liability of the outstanding financial commitment the county had made to build the road, brought it to the commission's attention that if left open ended something like this could someday come back to bite the county.

On January 7th, 2002, Park put forth a motion that if the Thorton/Hines project was not underway by July 1st 2002, the county would withdraw from the project. The commission voted 6-2 to pass the motion. Obviously, the Thorton/Hines project never materialized. Tennessee National didn't arrive on the scene till mid 2004.

Now that the road has been built, Loudon is looking to the county to pay the 30%. Fortunately, the county is under no obligation to pay anything on the road. The 2002 vote to withdraw from the project relieved the county of any payment.

Commissioners are aware of the history of the project and hopefully will reject Loudon's request for payment.