Representatives from the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society announced the approval of a significant Federal Highway Administration grant at the Charleston City Commission Tuesday night.
Society members Melissa Woody and Darlene Goins said the group applied for the maximum amount possible. The society will receive a Recreational Trails Program grant for $200,000 to be administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Woody said only eight were awarded across the state. Both ladies attributed much of the success to Melissa Mortimer, Southeast regional historic planner.
Woody also announced Jonathan Cantrell of Caldwell Paving has committed $50,000 of labor to match the grant. She said the society found out a couple of weeks ago their proposal had scored high. However, they did not know until Friday they would be awarded the money.
“Just to refresh you ... It’s the section from [the Hiwassee River Heritage Center] to the park that includes that Voices from the Past signage and the parking area for buses and for the park,” Woody said. “It does not include landscaping. There are certain things it does not cover. We will still have a lot to do, but I feel like we will be able to get a large part of that done.”
She said the project would ideally stretch to the work TVA is doing in the Charleston area.
The society announced Mike Snider will be the entertainment for the third annual International Cowpea Festival and Cook-off. According to Woody, he was on the TV show “Hee Haw” for seven years and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1990.
In addition, ROTC students will once again help with traffic.
Woody said certain yards will be fenced off so visitors will not park in their yards.
“We want to just make sure everyone is happy and that everyone is in love with this event,” Woody said. “We just want everyone to be happy about it. You all were talking about growing Charleston, and I know you have boundaries where you can’t grow, but we can grow visitation. We can grow some sales tax. We can grow visitors coming here.”
In other news:
- Charleston City Mayor Walter Goode and Commissioner Frankie McCartney were sworn in Tuesday night.
- The historical society will meet Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. in the Cleveland Depot for Civil War Living History. There will be cannon and gun fire from Fort Hill. Visitors are welcome.
- The next Charleston cleanup day will take place on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants are asked to meet in the Charleston City Park.