Elizabethton forms whitewater advisory board to promote the sport in the city

John Thompson • Updated Sep 12, 2019 at 10:15 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton City Council is hoping to make the city a destination for whitewater enthusiasts.

During its monthly meeting on Thursday, the council approved a new panel called the Surf Betsy Advisory Board.

The council formed the board at the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Board, which has been studying the impact that whitewater sports could have on the city and Carter County.

The advisory board would be made up of citizens who are participants of the sport. The charter members of the board are: Bill Schooley, Metin Eryasa and Wes Bradley. City Council members Kim Birchfield and Wes Frazier will also be on the board. The council was told that the formation of the board will have no financial impact on the city.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains told the council members that some cities are spending millions to create a whitewater park. Elizabethton has two quality whitewater streams: the Watauga River and the Doe River that run inside its corporate limits.

Mains told the council members that the city and county have natural resources that are priceless.

“You can’t go out and purchase a river,” Mains said. “You can’t relocate a river.”

To learn more about the economics of whitewater sports, several Elizabethton leaders will be traveling to the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, North Carolina, this weekend to take a three-hour raft ride and participate in a question and answer session with NOC executives.

In other matters, the council approved the posting of three school resource officers for the the three elementary schools in the Elizabethton City School System. In past years, the city only had resource officers art Elizabethton High School and T.A. Dugger Junior High School.

The additional three officers will mean that every school in the school system will have a resource officer within its halls.

The council also awarded Patrolman Lance Peters of the Elizabethton Police Department with the Life Saving Award. Peters was recognized for saving the life of a man who had accidentally shot himself in the upper left leg in June.

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