Adventure Tourism Director Jon Grace was present at the Middlesboro City Council meeting on Tuesday to discuss happenings within the adventure tourism department. Grace spoke briefly about possibilities of creating horseback riding trails within the national park.
Grace said he and mayor Bill Kelley have discussed the possibilities in the past. Grace plans on looking at grant opportunities for the national park so that trails can be developed.
“(Horseback riders) bring a lot of money and they travel in large groups, so it could be a big thing for Middlesboro,” said Grace.
Grace also discussed a possible ATV ride event next year that would allow people to ride in the mountains and watch the Middlesboro firework display on the Fourth of July. Grace is currently working on a grant for hiking trails at Pine Mountain State Park.
“We’ve got a lot of untapped potential here in Bell County,” said Grace. “There are not a lot of places that have multiple kinds of outdoor activity like we do.”
Middlesboro resident Angela Jackson was also at the meeting. Jackson asked why a raise could not be given to the mayor. Jackson said it would be an unselfish thing to do for the next mayor.
“It will be well deserved for us when we have a real mayor,” said Jackson making reference to the raise.
During the committee reports, parks and recreation chairman Kevin Barnett discussed the volleyball court and the swing set at Fords Woods. Barnett said the net from the volleyball court is gone and the swing set, along with other areas, needs more sand. Kelley said that getting sand and the net would not be a big issue.
Barnett also asked about the lack of a basketball court at Fords Woods. He said that there was an area for one, but there are no basketball goals. Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said the goals had been gone for several years because of noise complaints.
Councilman Ronnie Carter said Smithfield was looking to place a shelter where the old court used to be. Barnett discussed placing handicap swings at some of the parks as well.
During the community development report, chairman Bo Greene said the committee would look into some grant opportunities that were discussed during the committee meeting.
Carter asked Sharpe if a codes enforcement officer has the authority to issue a citation. Sharpe stated that the codes enforcement officer did not have the power to issue a citation. The police department would be the entity that would issue the citation if nothing else can be done to handle the violation.
Other business taken care of during the meeting included:
• Entrance of reports;
• Entrance of city bills paid;
• Approval of previous regular and special called meeting.