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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Sycamore Shoals group hopeful of closing large deficit

September 1st, 2011 11:33 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area has a long way to go if it wants to finish in the money in the Coca-Cola-sponsored favorite park contest at
With the deadline fast approaching Tuesday, the supporters of Sycamore Shoals find the park solidly in fourth place in the contest. Problem is, only the top three parks will receive cash prizes of $100,000 for first place; $50,000 for second place; and $25,000 for third place.
The supporters were inspired to compete in the Internet contest after learning there was no money in the state budget for the renovations to the park’s most recent acquisition, the Nathaniel Taylor home Sabine Hill.
With the 200th anniversary of the house’s construction coming in this decade, park supporters are anxious to begin the restoration work.
At the moment, it does not appear the park will be receiving any money in the contest. While the supporters have rallied community-wide support for the project, it has not been enough. Sycamore Shoals had a little more than 910,000 votes Wednesday evening, but is still a long way behind third-place Cunningham Park, which has more than 1.6 million votes.
Park supporter Helen Wilson said it is important to think positively and not give up. She said it is still possible to overcome the gap if only 2,000 people keep voting for Sycamore Shoals.
“This is the last week for the contest,“ Wilson said. “Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area is competing for third place. Just think, if 2,000 people voted 100 times each day for five days we would have 1 million votes.”
Wilson has already shown her commitment to saving Sabine Hill. She and Elizabethton attorney Sam LaPorte put up their own money to purchase Sabine Hill and hold it until the state had the money to purchase the property. She is hoping others will make a sacrifice in time to help preserve the home.
“That $25,000 is badly needed to preserve Sabine Hill,” Wilson said. “If you possibly can, please be one of the 2,000. I know everyone is busy, but 100 votes only takes 30 minutes or less. Several of our schools are participating in the computer lab and this is a great help.”
To encourage more people to vote more often, there are now prizes being offered by many of the park’s supporters that will be awarded to the most active voters at the end of the contest.
These prizes include several $100 cash prizes; a $50 Savings Bond; several $25 Visa gift cards; a $50 Avon gift certificate; a package of cosmetics; gift certificates to several restaurants, including Applebees, Fatz, Dominos and Chick-fil-A; a television set; and two free massages by Luster Shell.
Participants will be eligible for the drawings based on the number of votes they have been credited with casting in the contest, which requires registration at For more information on registering, voting and the drawing, go to the Sycamore Shoals supporters’ Facebook site at WinContest. To join in the voting, go to

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