Hickory Hills makes push to aid fire-ravaged Gatlinburg

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

The Hickory Hills City Council voted to donate funds to aid recovery efforts in fire-ravaged Gatlinburg, Tenn. during the meeting held last Thursday.

Responding to a request from Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd Ward) and Mayor Mike Howley, the council called for the vote on a donation of $200. The donation funds will be provided through the non-taxpayer funded Discretionary Fund.

McAvoy stated that he had contacted the municipalities of both Gatlinburg and Sevier, Tenn. at the request of a 3rd Ward resident who had family members in that area.

“It was very difficult to reach anyone, as normal communications were all down,” he said. “I was told that any money sent would be directed to the Red Cross for clean-up and survival efforts.”

McAvoy said he personally understood the devastation caused by fire, as his home had burned down 27 years ago.

“But I had neighbors who were there to help me,” said McAvoy. “I can’t imagine how these people feel with their entire neighborhoods destroyed.”

He said anyone wishing to donate can send checks to Sevier County Fire Relief Fund, c/o Citizens National Bank, 200 Forks of the River Pkwy, Sevierville, TN 37862, or, Gatlinburg Relief Fund, c/o SmartBank, P.O. Box 1910, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

On other agenda item, the council delayed scheduled action on an ordinance to approve a special use for the proposed Sabre Woods Plaza at 8900 W. 95th St. Village Attorney Vince Cainkar said preparation of the ordinance was still in progress and it would be presented at a later date.

The council approved a payment of $96,444.19 to AC Pavement Striping Company and $195,930 to Insituform Technologies, USA.

Village Engineer Mike Spolar stated that $150,000 of the payment to Insituform Technologies will be reimbursed to the city through the Community Block Development Grant (CBDG).

Public Works Director Larry Boettcher announced the hiring of Erik Wright at a Team 1 Grade level. Wright holds a Class C Water license and a CDL. He previously worked with Lombard and Brookfield.

Boettcher also announced that Keven Farrell was retiring after more than 35 years with the Public Works Department.

“He was an excellent employee. He will be missed,” said Boettcher.

Ald. John Szeszycki (2nd Ward), who is also the chair of Finance, reported that October’s revenue of $20,706 from video gaming was the second highest of the year. Revenue in March was $22,000, followed by $17, 000 in September.

“We have 15 video gaming locations in the city with a total of 63 machines,” Szeszycki said.

Ald. Brian Waight (1st Ward) announced the re-opening of businesses who now have new owners. The gas station at 8702 S. Roberts Road will have a new name, Fuel Line and the BP Gas station. The name will again be changed in February to Circle K. M & M Food & Beverage will re-open at 8031 W. 87th St., pending approval of its liquor license.

The Dec. 22 council meeting will be cancelled due to the Christmas holiday.