Harriman holds "Prospect 14" tour

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- James Gilmore is one of many people touring city-owned properties in Harriman.

"I'm looking at some of the buildings that are part of the land sale to maybe move my antique store. Instead of renting, maybe own the building that I'm in," said Gilmore.

The city has been planning "Prospect 14" for a long time. When the Roane Medical Center moved to Midway, it left behind 14 buildings, and Harriman is now accepting proposals on those properties.

"They're going to be sold based on best use, which is key. Somebody could offer $500,000 for storage, and somebody else could come along and offer a smaller amount for a better use - for a restaurant, or arts place. The best use is going to get it," said Chris Mason, mayor of Harriman.

Jack Sims with the Arts Council of Roane County is hoping the group will soon call one of the buildings home.

"We've got four or five that we're interested in that we're going to look at today. And from that, we're going to go away and put our heads together and figure out which one probably will best suit our needs," said Sims.

Sims said he's hopeful people will also be interested in the city's residential properties. He said if people start living downtown, more businesses will follow.

Donna Mann was looking at one of the houses:

"They're far bigger than I thought they were. I don't know exactly which business was in which building, but they're bigger and they're built so soundly," said Mann.

Mason said "Prospect 14" will change Harriman's future:

"A lot of hopes and expectations for our little town to try to see it come back. This is kind of our defining moment," said Mason.

Proposals will be accepted through July 8.

Harriman offered to sell the Roane Medical Center building to the Veterans Affairs for $1.00, but so far, the VA hasn't jumped on the offer. Mason said the city won't wait around for the VA if it gets a better offer from the Prospect 14 tour.


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