Mayor's Blog

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Minute with the Mayor 7-29-15

07.29.15
By: 
Mayor Ryan Smith

It’s been an exciting and sometimes rocky beginning to my term as the Mayor of Jamestown… and thus my introduction to the world of politics. Yet above all it has been an amazing learning experience to which I have thrown myself into full heartedly. From learning how to communicate with engineers and attorney’s about complex issues to dealing with rodents and soap boxes, it’s all part of the job. Perhaps, however, one of the greatest lessons I have learned has been to recognize the importance of good communication. This means communicating well within our organization, to our contractors, to other government agencies, and especially to the public. This article marks the beginning of my effort to improve on that communication with the public. My hope is that this will help to better educate you, our citizens, about the issues we face and the proactive steps we are taking to better our community. In the months to come I will be discussing both new and old matters as an attempt to do a bit of “catching up” from the beginning of my term.

There are three things I would particularly like to share for this month’s article. The first is concerning our work with local government, the second is in regard to the upcoming Jamestown Jamboree, and the third is in response to several questions that have been raised about our Airport and efforts we are making to work with our local and state government to bring industry to our area.

As we continue to improve with our communication and encourage transparency, the City of Jamestown Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently reached out to our Fentress County Commission and the Fentress County Industrial Development Board to request a joint work session. The three boards met last week for the purpose of helping to better facilitate communication and improve on all of our processes. It was a great effort on behalf of each board and all are to be applauded for their presence and desire to do what is best for our community. This is a very exciting time for Fentress County and we are proud to be working together.

Thanks to the work of our former administrations, the City of Jamestown started the Jamestown Jamboree several years ago. It’s a great event that continues to grow and takes place every year on the Saturday in August during the 127 Yard Sale. This is an opportunity for our local community to come out and enjoy themselves. It also gives us a chance to draw tourists back to our area and help with our local economy. Please be sure to stop by Mark Twain Park and the square in Jamestown on Saturday, August 8th starting at 12:00 noon there will be an array of country and blue grass bands as well as a Cruise-in antique car show, food and drinks, and more.

Finally I wanted to explain some exciting things that are happening with our Airport, and at the same time clarify some confusion about how it effects our community. At the beginning of my term as Mayor it quickly became known to me that our Airport was in danger of being shut down, as the world of Aeronautics is very highly regulated. It was important that in order to maintain our Airport certain improvements had to be made. Furthermore we saw it as a potential additional revenue source for the City as well as an important aspect to offer in enticing new industry and encouraging tourism. At this time the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) requested that the City of Jamestown purchase some adjoining property at their absolute earliest convenience. This would allow for improvements including a runway extension that would be necessary for many moderate sized planes that such industry or tourism might need to land. We are very happy to share that this property was recently secured by the city through a TDOT grant after a very lengthy effort. Until just months ago, this property was owned by a development company. The property was set to be auctioned off nearly a year ago. The owners were able to make payment and the land did not go to auction. It came up for auction again earlier this year and we were able to secure the property at this time. In February of this year the Fentress County Industrial Development Board, informed us there was a company looking to locate near the airport. The Industrial Development Board then requested the City grant access to the airport for the industry, which the City Council voted unanimously to allow. At that time, the company was looking primarily at another adjoining piece of property. It was a matter of days following the City securing this property that we learned this potential industry was interested in the same piece of property we had secured. Since that time the City has provided the Industrial Development board options to make the needed portion of the property available to this potential industry while still satisfying the needs of the Airport. As this property is purchased through government grants, it is important to understand that there are very specific legal regulations as to how this property is used or transferred. This is governed by both the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Aeronautics Division as well as the Federal Aviation Administration. We are hopeful that we will still be able to entice this particular industry to our community. We are even further working to provide sewer service to this same property for this purpose and/or to entice further development. The City of Jamestown Board of Mayor and Aldermen are very committed to both industrial and economic growth in both Jamestown and Fentress County. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it is helpful to you as our citizens. We value your feedback and are always available at City Hall. Also please take the time to browse us on Facebook.com/CityOfJamestown. We will be keeping you continually informed there as well.