Blountville Republican Ron Ramsey said he couldn’t pull the trigger on targeting funding for major regional projects when he first became Tennessee’s lieutenant governor in 2007.
“I wasn’t about to ask for things in my area when we were cutting in other areas, but state revenues have turned around some. ... When that came, I thought it was fair we get some projects on this end of the state,” Ramsey said We d n e s d a y.
His fingerprints were all over two major economic development projects included in the $31.5 billion budget passed this week by the GOP-controlled legislature.
Ramsey steered a $500,000 state appropriation toward a planned multimillion-dollar Bristol Cultural Heritage Center just across State Street in Bristol, Va., and an $8.8 million appropriation to acquire Doe Mountain in Johnson County.
That Doe Mountain appropriation, plus a legislature-approved bill to create a governing authority for the property, is expected to lead to development of a multi-use park for all-terrain vehicles, bike riding and hiking.
“This is the biggest thing that has happened to Johnson County in a long time,” Ramsey said. “Not only will it promote their natural beauty, it will be a huge economic boon to them. We’ve studied what other places have done for ATV parks and bike paths and walking paths. When we get this structure put together, it will provide a lot of jobs for Johnson County.”
Read the expanded version of this report for in the print edition of the Times-News or its enhanced electronic edition for details of other Northeast Tennessee funds in the state budget