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News TDA eyes U.S. 441 North for site of Smoky Mountain Rumble

After much debate, the Town of Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority has designated the site of the annual Gem Show on 441N to host the inaugural Smoky Mountain Rumble biker rally this August. Photo by Vickie CarpenterOn Monday, Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority formally set their sights on 441N alongside which August’s upcoming biker rally is scheduled to be held.

Last July, the TDA unanimously voted to sponsor a three-day motorcycle rally, giving promoters $14,800 of TDA funds to kick off the first ever event in Macon County. While nothing was set in stone for the location of the event, several ideas were considered, including holding part of the event in downtown Franklin. In April, Scott and Sylvia Cochran, promoters of the event went before the board and requested Main Street road closings for the three days of the festival and an addition day to set up. That request met with some opposition from Main Street business owners and the town.

On Monday, Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority formally set their sights on 441N alongside which August’s upcoming biker rally is scheduled to be held.

Last July, the TDA unanimously voted to sponsor a three-day motorcycle rally, giving promoters $14,800 of TDA funds to kick off the first ever event in Macon County. While nothing was set in stone for the location of the event, several ideas were considered, including holding part of the event in downtown Franklin. In April, Scott and Sylvia Cochran, promoters of the event went before the board and requested Main Street road closings for the three days of the festival and an addition day to set up. That request met with some opposition from Main Street business owners and the town.

After some consideration, TDA members decided the site where the annual Gem Show is held on U.S. 441 North is to be the site of the rally, dubbed “Smoky Mountain Rumble.” There are still opportunities, according to Cochran, for there to be some motorcycle traffic in downtown, prompted by events such as poker runs or treasure hunts.

“My idea is, this year, we need to centralize it on 441,” said assistant town manager Summer Woodard. “We should start small and then grow.”

“It’s a glorified arts and crafts show with a motorcycle theme,” said event promoter Sylvia Cochran, assuring that the event would be commercially-friendly and have proper security no matter where it was held. “It’s not a hell-raising event. We will strong-arm to keep anything like that from happening.”

The tract of land typically costs $4,000 to $6,000 to rent for such events, pointed out TDA chairman Candy Pressley, to which Cochran replied that such funds may partially be squeezed out of the current budget for the event.

The board unanimously voted to hold the event at the venue along U.S. 441 North, as originally proposed, as long as it was within the budget. The area for the event would then be recommended at May 21 Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen meeting. The event is scheduled for Aug. 17-19.

New TDA member recommendations

Members also discussed filling two TDA seats, vacated by Ron Winecoff and Ron Haven. Winecoff, representing local real estate, decided not to seek reappointment. Former member Ron Haven, representing the local hospitality industry, resigned recently due to a high workload.

TDA member Ellen Jenkins proposed that Prudential realtor Vickie Springer fill Winecoff’s seat, while former town planner and Oak Hill Country Inn proprietor Mike Grubermann fill Haven’s seat. Both motions passed unanimously. Both candidates will be proposed before the Town Aldermen on May 21.

New billboard design promoting Town of Franklin

After three years, the vinyl on the face of TDA-leased billboards is in need of replacement. Local web designer Tony Angel submitted a new design for the town, citing simplicity and local heritage as the key elements in his new design. The board voted unanimously to adopt the design.

No TDA advertising for Braveheart 5K

An advertising request by Braveheart 5K organizer Dave Linn died after members found they were unable to provide the $800 Linn sought to pay for advertising. Linn also wanted the use of two TDA-leased billboards to promote the event, however the board was unable to provide such, as all billboards are currently in use.

Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival gets TDA bump

Chamber of Commerce marketing director Cindy Cavender requested the use of two billboards and $3,000 to fund requisitioned advertising. Cavender reported that the festival, scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11, received $5,000 from the TDC. The festival profits, she added, makes up 48 percent of the Chamber’s annual income.





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