The community development committee held a meeting on Tuesday. Bob Vaughn, a board member on the Rural Development board, was present at the meeting to discuss several grant possibilities. He said the ARC had allocated $200,000 for a mini-grant program.
Applications for this type of grant would be due in September. The grant can be used for any types of community planning, but there can be no construction done using the grants.
Many of the grants used by other counties were in the amount of $10,000. Several of these grants have gone toward the Bell County Strategic Plan.
Vaughn also mention two projects that he believed would help the community. The first was a history garden.
The history garden would be at a select spot in the downtown area. A park would be constructed to depict events such as the creation of the valley by the meteor impact, the native American hunting parties, the occupation by Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War and many other major events.
Vaughn also envisions detailed biographical sketches of the individuals and characters who have been prominent to Middlesboro History. The park would use signs and plaques to lead the visitors through history.
Vaughn said this could be done using a planning grant to do necessary historical research and find the best location for the park. The plan would also contain ideas for funding sources for the construction of the project. Council member Evelyn Farmer said the canal would be a good place to do the project, as well as the Victorian Garden.
The second project that Vaughn discussed with the committee was a plan to make signs along U.S. 25E follow a uniform design. The idea also included a development of architectural standards for the buildings along the highway.
Community development chair Bo Greene said the development of a website would also be beneficial for the community. The website could help promote the town as well as helping tourist or new residence with information.
The committee states the website needs to be expanded. There was also discussion about creating a facebook page that would allow feedback from the community. The facebook would also allow the community to express their ideas for development in the town.
Sidewalks were also a concern discussed. Greene said the sidewalks needed to be improved. He said the sidewalks could be improved by small sections at a time. No action on any items could be taken during the committee meeting.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.