Last week, area residents and leaders shared enthusiasm for our shores with representatives from the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership. On Wednesday, July 10, the true collaboration between Benton County and the RiverLine project began.
A team of nine RiverLine partners, including landscape architects Brad Collett, RiverLine Partnership director and UT associate professor, and John Lavender, of Lose Design in Nashville; TVA natural resource managers David Brewster and Tiffany Foster; and Alison Bullock with the National Park Service, arrived in Camden to initiate Benton County into the 2019 Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community Program.
The first of five counties to participate, the interaction consisted of a leadership workshop meeting on Wednesday, a clean-up event at Eva Beach on Thursday morning, and an interactive community meeting on Thursday evening. All events were well attended and resulted in good collaboration among participants.
Fifteen locals participated in Wednesday’s leadership workshop, including Nikki Dillehay, Alex French, Ryan Hall, Stephanie Harcleroad, Rachelle Hill, J. C. Johnsonious, Bea Lashlee, Mayor Brett Lashlee, Daryl Moscey, Mayor Roger Pafford, Amanda Paschall, Laurie Pierce, Rocky Presson, Heather Deckard Smith, and Lesli Woods.
The Pilot Community Program is a critical step in engaging all Tennessee River communities in the development of the Tennessee RiverLine. Through these early meetings, the program initiates what will need to become sustained participation, effort, and investment from all Tennessee River communities in order for the Tennessee RiverLine to be a success.
“We are off to a great start with the RiverLine project, and we are very pleased to be the first pilot community to collaborate with the RiverLine team. I truly believe this project will transform the way we see and use our shores and the many aspects of our portion of the Tennessee River,” said Mayor Lashlee.
Through the pilot program, RiverLine partners seek to identify existing assets and initiatives that promote public access to the river, enhance the vision for and shape the future of the RiverLine Partnership, understand how the RiverLine vision aligns with the needs and priorities of river communities such as Benton County, and begin building a local vision around that alignment.
“Thank you, Benton County, for joining us for our first Pilot Community meetings. Your enthusiasm for this project is rivaled only by the beauty of the river in your community!” said Collett. “The RiverLine team had a productive week in Benton County, and we thank you for your feedback, ideas, and vision for the RiverLine in your community, as well as the hospitality you extended to our team. We’re fortunate to have you on board as a 2019 Pilot Community, and we look forward to partnering with you in the next steps for the development of the Tennessee RiverLine.”
For anyone who was not able to attend the community meeting on July 11, there is an online survey tool that can be completed by visiting www.tnriverline.org/rivergauge. To keep track of upcoming RiverLine events, see www.tnriverline.org/events or follow the Tennessee RiverLine Facebook page.