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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Carter Tomorrow board hears plans to promote arts next month

October 25th, 2011 12:10 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County’s economic development group heard about some major advances being made on the local art scene.
John Moore, who is working to promote the arts in Elizabethton and Carter County, addressed the Carter County Tomorrow Board of Directors on Monday about several art-related efforts that will be going on in November. The month will be proclaimed Visual and Fine Arts Appreciation Month in Elizabethton. The citizens of the city are urged in the proclamation to “participate in some meaningful way to help promote the visual and fine arts within our fine community.”
One event taking place in November is an art exhibition that will take place at the Carter at Main Restaurant. Moore said the event has 12 sponsors. He said because of so many sponsors “we now have a wonderful event that will be annual.”
He said the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library is also helping by displaying art books and art works during the month.
The library has also been the scene of art classes and lessons that have been going on for the past six months.
Moore said several other projects are being developed. One of the biggest is to turn the former Magic Mart building into a center for the arts. Another location for art and archival use might be the old Citizens Bank building on Elk Avenue, which has two vaults.
Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson said the idea of converting the Magic Mart building “was exactly the kind of thing we need.” He said it fit in well with long-range plans to develop the Watauga Riverfront into an attraction. “I do appreciate John’s efforts,” Anderson said.
Anderson updated the group on the current projects to bring new business and industry into the county.
He said work is still being done on Project Red Energy, a plan to convert old tires and other carbon-based recyclables into synthetic diesel fuel. The effort to attract an adequate feeder stock base is continuing.
Anderson said he has now seen a pilot operation and remains impressed. He said the diesel fuel produced does not require any conversion on truck or tractor engines. He said the only byproducts are distilled water and a product called biochar that can be used with fertilizer to improve farm land.
He said if it locates in Elizabethton, it will be the first commercial project of its kind in the United States.
He said the Highlands Group is “nailing down the final incentive pieces” prior to completing a plastic recycling program that will produce pharmaceutical grade plastic. He said the incentive plan will soon be presented to the Carter County Industrial Development Board.
The Project Quest project remains on hold until January, Anderson said. He hopes it will be restarted with a potential to create at least 70 new jobs.
Anderson said there was a possibility of obtaining a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority to place new signs for the Watauga Industrial Park, including a listing of which companies were at each of the entrances.
He said the engineering work on the planning for a Roan Mountain sewer project is continuing, including the identification of potential locations for drip fields.
Anderson said Watauga Lake is being considered as the location of a $200 million movie Universal Studios will produce next year.
Chamber of Commerce Director Felicia English said Bristol Motor Speedway is the newest member of the chamber. She also said Octoberfest went smoothly and well last weekend. She said there were many comments about the more rock-oriented band that performed.
Tourism Director Annika Hampton said she has begun partnership plans with Bristol Motor Speedway. She said the new hiking in Carter County video is now being shown.

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