Cocke County Legislative Body decides on name for industrial park

The Cocke County Legislative Body meeting Monday evening decided to name the new jobs park the Cocke County Center of Industrial Innovation. The park is on Highway 25E

Commissioner Gary Carver had proposed a name highlighting the Great Smoky Mountains, pointing out any firm looking for a site in the Smoky Mountains would more readily find the site on line. That approach was initially proposed by Partnership President Lucas Graham.

But commissioners Gayla Blazer and Dan Bright argued for having Cocke County in the name, and so the name was chosen contingent on ratification by the industrial development board.

The body also approved an extension of the contract with QCH Medical to provide medical services to jail inmates.

The original contract with the firm provided only for medical services. At the suggestion of the company a clause was added to allow QCH to negotiate lower medical fees, and with the firm to receive 15 percent of the savings.

Commissioner Forest Clevenger said a company official had suggested the county could negotiate with the various providers to simply charge the county the Medicaid rate, eliminating the need to pay the firm the 15 percent negotiation fee. He argued for sending the contract issue to committee for further discussion before a vote, however, the CLB decided to retain the negotiation clause in the contract.

The courthouse roof is currently being repaired, and last week during a heavy rain, the circuit courtroom ceiling tiles, carpet and benches were extensively damaged as a result. In fact on Monday water was continuing to drip onto the courtroom floor. Water also went through the floor into the first floor of the courthouse.

Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger reported she visited the damaged area with a company representative.

“They had to pull up the carpet, and RCR has agreed to pay for the cleaning, replace the carpet and address mold problems. So we should see a speed up of the project depending on the weather,” she said.

The mayor reported an area of the Parrottsville community needs utility water, but the cost would exceed the available $500,000 grant through the Community Development Block Grant program. Efforts are underway to apply for a separate $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to fund the project.

The commission spent some time talking about the need for better maintenance of the courthouse but there was no resolution. The body was told that bids are about to be let to upgrade the restrooms in the courthouse. Ottinger also reported she is seeking a state grant to address ADA issues on county properties.

The Cocke County Recreation Department recently announced all recreation programs will be curtailed until at least January. Several commissioners suggested finding other activities for staff to do where the programs are at a standstill.

The body agreed to postpone consideration of a proposal to extend the contract with GFL Environmental. The firm is proposing to place compactors at all convenience centers, as well as provide land-filling of all county garbage.