Area of North Gatlinburg where the city is looking to revitalize the area with a large development. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Gatlinburg is looking to spruce up the north-spur entrance with a new development.
On Highway 441, just as you get into Gatlinburg, if you look right you'll see a vacant piece of property. That 7 acre piece of property has been vacant since developers backed out of a project several years ago. Now the city hopes to work with a known development group to come up with ideas to improve the area.
"We feel this area right here will help spark this end of town, which desperately needs economic help," said Mayor Mike Werner.
Werner showed us the area where he hopes rooftop dining, lodging, family entertainment, and a scenic green-way will soon greet guests coming into Gatlinburg. The city has agreed to allow the group that redeveloped Market Square in Knoxville come up with a proposal.
"Maybe a real iconic type of pedestrian bridge across the river, some of the prettiest parts of the river are right here and you can't even see it as you're coming into town," Werner said as he talked about ideas.
Property owners in the area hope the city can do something. Owners say they feel cut off from the downtown area and the new attraction would give people a reason to stay on the north side of town.
"Oh I think it would be an absolute great benefit to our area, to the local economy which we desperately need in this area," said David Dixon with Gatlinburg Real Estate. "This is a great start for the City of Gatlinburg to bridge the gap between us and the actual downtown for the north Gatlinburg."
The mayor says there's not a timeline for development. Right now he says he hopes to schedule a meeting with property owners to see what they may want to see happen here.