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John Thompson

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New football stadium a go after council vote

March 14th, 2014 11:27 am by John Thompson

New football stadium a go after council vote

Nancy Alsup

ELIZABETHTON — Preparation for a new football stadium at Elizabethton High School can now commence at full speed after the Elizabethton City Council unanimously approved on second and final reading the transfer of $5 million to the city school system. The vote was unanimous.

The funding comes from a bond sale and will be paid back from proceeds of a half-cent sales tax that is committed to school capital projects. Although the bond money could only be spent on school projects, the council did hold up the budget transfer for a few months because none of the funds were going to make improvements to T.A. Dugger Jr. High School, which was one of three projects to originally benefit from the loan.

The Elizabethton City School Board said plans changed because the bond sale generated less revenue than originally planned, making it impossible to complete all three projects. Because of the building’s age, the school board said the biggest variables in costs were with the T.A. Dugger project.

Councilwoman Nancy Alsup said she abstained from voting during the first reading last month because she was not able to attend a workshop session where the school board explained its reasoning for moving ahead only with the football stadium and the music room. She said she was now casting her vote for the transfer and “renewing my friendship with (School Superintendent) Mr. (Ed) Alexander.”

The council also honored the state champion Elizabethton High School girls basketball team and the Elizabethton High School cheerleaders during Thursday’s meeting. The basketball team brought along the gold basketball trophy it won during last week’s state tournament. Referring to the trophy, head Coach Lynn Dugger thanked the audience for all the support the team received and said “These girls won this, but this is for everybody.” He then thanked the players’ parents for all the sacrifices they made.

The cheerleaders were honored for winning the sportsmanship award. The win was unexpected because the award often goes as a consolation prize to the cheerleading team of one of the schools that does not win the tournament.

The council reconvened as the Beverage Board to consider penalties for four restaurants that were caught selling alcohol to underage drinkers in a sting operation. The board had already assessed penalties for the Lone Star Restaurant and the Bonnie Kate and accepted the surrendered beer permit from Lakeo Steakhouse when it began deliberating on a second offense by Beef O’Brady’s.

The council learned that Beef O’Brady’s and the others had already been punished by the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, with a fine of $1,500. For its second offense, Beef O’Brady’s had already had its license suspended for 15 days.

Mayor Curt Alexander said he did not think it was fair for these restaurants to be punished twice for one offense. The council voted unanimously to withdraw the sentences already handed down and defer the matter until City Attorney Roger Day researches the matter with the state.

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