The Grinch - Axing Old Blue on HOLD!



Old Blue Christmas Tree's - Last Christmas



By: Pat Hunter

November 30, 2008


Once upon a time, not to long ago, the Loudon County Economic Development Agency (EDA), a group of government and prominent businessmen sat around a table discussing several proposed projects. While not all, many of the grants for local government begin with the EDA office. The EDA Chairman, Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp and others, listened to the update about a Fountain & Lighting Revitalization Project in downtown Historic Loudon City.


The assistant EDA director, Kathy Knight gave a brief update and mentioned how a local businessman was interested in revitalizing the Loudon City Fountain project and that he planned to pledge $10,000 for the match portion of the grant project. According to EDA Director Pat Phillips, another donor was considering giving money for the Fountain renovation, $5000 one year and another $5000 the following year but the Director kept the donor's name secret. Mayor Bernie “Inky” Swiney smiled and commented that there would be a fight, referring to cutting down Old Blue Christmas Tree.


Do you recall the story about the cold-hearted Grinch and How the Grinch Stole Christmas from the warm-hearted Whos? Let me share another story about how the Grinch relocated in little Loudon County with the Have’s (Special Interest) and Have-nots (taxpayers).


According to the local newspaper, in early November 2008, Loudon City Fathers learned that the Fountain - Greenway project would face another delay. The bid awarded to Construction Design for the Fountain Triangle and Wharf Greenway Project, will have to be rebid. “The contractor failed to provide unit prices for all items listed and the board improperly negotiated bid items before the contract was signed.” Wasn’t Barge Waggoner hired to make sure that all of these details were properly addressed? For now, Old Blue Christmas Tree has been given a short reprieve from the buzz saw, thanks in part to the Grinch’s cold-hearted bungling bureaucratic accomplices.


The Loudon City Historic District is in the middle of a revitalization project and Old Blue Christmas Tree was slated to be cut down in early November with the installation of a new fountain and low growing plants. Talk is a blaze that some in the business community complained that the Old Blue Christmas Tree blocked the view of stores and the tree must go. This helps feed the notion that Loudon City Fathers usually bow to the whims of the “Have’s” (Special Interest), at the expense of all the Have-nots. 


Every Christmas, it was a tradition for school children to decorate Old Blue Christmas Tree. This would bring cheer and joy to the children and commuters who would enjoy the student’s decorations and lights but the Grinch and his cohorts have other plans in mind!


Have you ever heard someone say that grant money is free? Whoever tells you that it’s free has no concept of grant money; grant monies for this project came from state and federal grants, your money, and compliments of your state elected officials. See press releases below for details.  


Preserving or destroying the past is a delicate balance, once destroyed there is no going back.

It’s still hard to comprehend the mindset of some, to cut down the beautiful old stately Blue Spruce Christmas tree in downtown Historical Loudon and replacing it with something new, somewhere else, all in the name of a GREENWAY PROJECT, PRESERVATION and PROGRESS!









Bredesen Announces Enhancement Grant for the City of Loudon in Loudon County

Nashville, Tenn. - Governor Phil Bredesen joined state and local leaders today to announce a transportation enhancement grant in the amount of $44,822 for the Wharf Street Greenway Lighting Project in Loudon County.

The grant funds will be used to add 12 street lights along the Wharf Street greenway that will connect the downtown area to the riverfront.  Decorative lighting will be used to complement the historic character of downtown Loudon. The lighting will also enhance safety for pedestrians along the walking trail and will aesthetically complement the greenway.

“This project will enhance the Wharf Street Greenway and the areas surrounding the riverfront,” said Governor Bredesen. “I am pleased the state is able to help fund this project to make this greenway safer and add to its historic charm.”

These grant funds will be used to enhance the safety of pedestrians along Warf Street,” said Senator Randy McNally.  “I’m pleased to see the Governor and TDOT dedicating these funds to the city of Loudon.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“TDOT has funded more than $189 million in transportation related projects through our Enhancement Grant Program,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.  “This program provides funds to cities, counties and state organizations to fund activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping, streetscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects.” 

The federal grant program was established by Congress in the early 1990’s to fund activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system.

Representative Jimmy Matlock worked to secure these grant funds for Loudon County.


 “This is a very positive improvement for Loudon.”


Governor Bredesen Announces Loudon County Enhancement Grant


Nashville, Tenn.—Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that the state will provide the city of Loudon with an enhancement grant in the amount of $144,100 to assist with the development of the Historic Wharf Street Greenway Project.


The purpose of the project is to construct a walking trail along the Tennessee River on what was originally Wharf Street.


“Creating additional transportation options is important for the development of a city’s infrastructure, especially along a waterway,” said Bredesen. “I’m glad the state could assist with this project in Loudon.”

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely announced the award at a ceremony on behalf of the Governor. He credited Representative Russell Johnson and Senator Randy McNally with helping secure the grant for Loudon.


“This trail will allow residents and visitors to enjoy the historic riverfront corridor in Loudon,” said Johnson. “It will significantly contribute to the revitalization of the area.”


“The trail will connect two area parks, a senior living complex and a senior citizens center to a commercial development along historic Wharf Street,” added McNally. “This is a very positive improvement for Loudon.” The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). Commissioner Nicely explained that in the early 1990s, Congress set up a system of funding for activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system. During the last 14 years, more than $154 million dollars in projects have been funded in communities all across Tennessee.


“Such grant funded activities include historic transportation facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and many other non-traditional transportation projects,” said Nicely.


The trail is adjacent to US Highway 11 and will run in an eastern direction for 1,000 feet until it reaches the Tennessee River.