Monthly Archives: July 2012

Phase VI of Underground Utilities And Streetscape Project Brings Fresh Appearance To South End Of Parkway

At long last, Phase VI of the Underground Utilities and Streetscape Project is substantially complete. And in the opinion of many of those parties involved, the lasting improvements were worth the inconveniences.

The section of Parkway extending from the Gatlinburg Convention Center to the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park now features the same aesthetic upgrades which enhance much of the rest of Parkway, including new streetlights, public sidewalks and furnishings, all without the clutter of utility lines and poles.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the business community on the South end of town as well as our residents and visitors,” said City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle. “It has been a long, challenging undertaking which has required some sacrifices, a good bit of tolerance and a lot of faith, but I believe everyone can agree that the change in the look and feel of the entire project area is quite dramatic.”

The difficult, detailed process of transforming the area began in mid-August of last year. At approximately 1,850 feet in length, Phase VI is the largest single Underground Phase to date. It included the construction of underground duct banks to house electrical, telephone and cable television lines on both sides of Parkway. Water and sewer improvements were also encompassed in the project.

The replacement of the steel bridge at the intersection of Parkway and Leconte Street was one of the most challenging components of Phase VI, including the widening of the turning radius from Parkway to Leconte Street.

The Underground Utilities and Streetscape Project was a joint effort of the City, the design firm Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, Inc., the contractor Efficient Electric, and local utilities involved in the undertaking.
New street lighting, benches, trash receptacles and signage are strategically placed along the street and new sidewalk has been installed on public right-of-ways. Several planters have been placed to accommodate seasonal plantings and small trees.

Distinctive crosswalks will be installed in the area in mid-July with updated signage also still to be added.

Including the $7.8 million that covers both design engineering and construction costs of Phase VI, the City of Gatlinburg and business community have now invested approximately $24 million in the Underground Utilities and Streetscape Project, dating to the late 1990s with the development of the original master plan and Riverwalk/Aquarium area.

Property owners in the Phase VI area will be assessed 20 percent of the cost, approximately $1.52 million, which may be paid over a 15 year timeframe or on a lump-sum basis.

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Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales, Free Parkway Trolley Roll On

Summertime is a great time to visit Gatlinburg, especially since visitors can enjoy both Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales and the Free Parkway Trolley. And the price is right as well!

Tunes & Tales, Gatlinburg’s street entertainment program, is in its seventh year of providing live performances on the Parkway every evening from 6 to 11 p.m. through August 11.

Whether listening to music, watching arts & crafts demonstrations or marveling at the cloggers, these live performances are fun for all ages. Watch as costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as 1800 transform the sidewalk into a stage.

The Free Parkway Trolley program is operating every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. between Lights #1 and #10.

The free specially painted open air shuttles pick up visitors at any of 40-plus stops on the Parkway. These trolleys are handicap- accessible and very popular as our guests explore new areas of town. The program continues through August 18.

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100th Army Band To Perform Free Concerts On July 4

Back by popular demand, the 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Ky., will not only lead the 37th annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade, but will also showcase various sectional groups in free concerts on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza throughout the day of July 4, culminating in a full Band concert at 8:30 p.m. which ushers in Gatlinburg’s spectacular fireworks display at approximately 10 p.m.

Soldiers first, musicians second, the 100th Army Band has traveled the world to present its high- quality professional musical entertainment. The Band includes several combo components – a jazz band, brass quartet, rock band, and more. Each member of the Band receives the same combative training and is expected to have the same military abilities demonstrated by other Army personnel.

Each of the Band’s July 4 performances at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza will be free- admission.

Also performing on the Plaza during July 4 festivities will be the Burlington Teen Tour Band from Burlington, Ontario, Canada at 7 p.m.

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