The Cocke County Public Safety Committee took up the issue of safety at the whitewater venue of Hartford recently.

Parking is on the northside of Hartford Road, requiring visitors to cross the roadway to reach the rafting venue. Because several pedestrians have nearly been struck, efforts are underway to find a workable solution to the problem.

The attendees were told putting speed bumps on the road is prohibited, and so a fence may be constructed to allow crosswalks only at intersections.

Last year 180,000 people enjoyed whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River.

Commissioner Casey Gillium, an employee of the county highway department said he will invite Road Superintendent Dwayne McCallister to the next meeting of the committee to obtain his input on the issue.

Lora Wright said motorists who are not familiar with the rafting venue, exit the interstate not knowing about the pedestrian crossing issue.

Partnership President Lucas Graham added that state or federal money may be available because of the safety issue.

The committee also discussed reports that a recreation development firm is looking at a possible project in the Hartford area. There currently is no zoning in the county outside of Newport, but the committee was told the developer may demand regulations.

Commissioner Forest Clevenger pointed out that a recreation project may not want a pig farm to move in next to the project, and so restrictions may be required. And Committee Chair Kyle Shute suggested regulations are needed to control development in the area.

There also was discussion regarding a proposed free-standing wastewater treatment facility to serve the Hartford area. Several residents expressed concern that such an operation could produce a risk to the Pigeon River and its growing rafting industry.

But attendees were told those concerns are unfounded.