Caryville, county inches toward ATV access to roads

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By Logan White

In an effort to expand tourism in the area, the Caryville Board of Mayor and Aldermen is making moves to free up legal access for all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides on some city roads.

This is part of a larger project in collaboration with Campbell County and LaFollette officials to connect urban areas — with access to hotels, restaurants and gas stations — to recreational riding trails in the mountains.

In January, LaFollette City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries and state Rep. Dennis Powers initially presented the idea to the Caryville board. Powers then said that the plan would be to take a compiled list of roads in the county and present it to the state in the form of a private act.

The Caryville board reviewed and approved a list of roads during Monday’s meeting. Caryville Mayor Robert Stooksbury noted that, along with ATVs and side-by-sides bringing tourism dollars to the county, Jeeps are also often seen driving in large groups to and from the trails.

“I saw them when they were clean. Lloyd [Lawson] saw them when they were dirty,” Stooksbury said of Jeeps and ATVs he has seen in Caryville. “They’re using our area. They’re buying our gas and food. This is, I think, nothing but a good thing for everybody concerned.”

Back in January, Jeffries told the board that the eventual goal is to connect ATV traffic from Rocky Top to Middlesboro, Ky. — a project that would include Campbell County in what could potentially be one of the largest recreational areas east of the Mississippi River.

In addition to commonplace street laws for drivers of cars and motorcycles, ATV riders using these roads would need to comply with an additional set of rules if the state passes the private act.

Riders would only be permitted to ride 30 minutes before sunrise and up to 30 minutes after sunset, must wear a helmet approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, have valid insurance and be 16 years of age with a valid state driver’s license or have adult supervision.

Stooksbury read Caryville’s ordinance during Monday’s meeting with its full list of roads:

• Ershell Collins Road to Howard Baker Hwy. to I-75 to Caryville city limits.

• Comfort Lane from Hwy. 63 to city limits near the Comfort Inn.

• Old Hwy. 63 from intersection of Main Street to Bruce Gap Road to Caryville city limits.

• Bruce Gap Road from Old Hwy. 63 to Butter and Egg Road to Caryville city limits.

• Main Street from Hwy. 63 to Mountain Road to Caryville city limits.

• Intersection of Dogwood Road near the Hampton Inn to Hwy. 116 to Caryville city limits toward Rocky Top.

At Monday’s Caryville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting:

• The board recognized Pat Donahue, who retired in early March after working for Caryville as administrative assistant and recorder for the past 12 years. Trecia Kindred replaced Donahue as city recorder. Kindred previously worked for the LaFollette Press for four years as the customer service representative where she managed circulation and classifieds.

• Caryville Police Chief Brian Keeton recognized three patrol officers hired recently — Michael Kitts, Andy Davis and Adam Southern.

• The board approved Jerry Foust to cut the hay at the industrial park near the 141 exit beginning this summer. Foust will cut at no cost to the city, as long as he can keep the hay.

• Caryville Alderman Patrick Pebley says he talked to Campbell County Schools Technology Director and Jacksboro Mayor Jack Cannon about building a website for the city. This project may begin once Cannon’s term as mayor ends in April.

• The board voted to update its purchasing policy. Purchases under $100 will only require approval by a department head. Purchases exceeding $100 will require one signature from a board member.

• The board voted to purchase a new pickup truck for the street department. The current truck is more than 20 years old and is in need of repairs. The board elected to trade in the current truck.

• The board discussed Keeton’s request of allowing the police department to tow vehicles seized in arrests and store them behind the municipal building for short periods of time. Keeton says the vehicles would be released back to the owner with proper identification. The benefit of this, Keeton says, is the vehicle owners would pay the police department rather than a third-party towing service, generating income for the city.