Greeneville Town Administrator Todd Smith is to begin discussion with the Greeneville Energy Authority about the feasibility of the town purchasing what has long been the Greeneville Light & Power System building, should the power company choose to move its offices elsewhere.
The authorization, given Tuesday by action of the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting in regular session, is simply to begin discussion of the idea to see if it looks promising.
The power company already owns property along Highway 11E used for warehousing and so on, and informal discussion of creating a new headquarters on that property has been floated. Should the power company vacate its longtime main offices near the town hall, Mayor W.T. Daniels and others say the city might wish to purchase the building and move Greeneville’s administrative offices into it, leaving town hall with space to expand overcrowded police department offices.
Smith is to begin the exploratory discussion with the power company and keep the town board updated.
The board also discussed at length options for developing downtown parking space in the area known as Crow Foot Alley. The need for parking expansion is anticipated as improvement of Depot Street and its surrounding area moves forward.
A representative of the Vaughn & Melton civil engineering firm presented three options to the board for possible ways the alley area could be developed for parking, and after lengthy discussion the aldermen opted to ask for further study of what they called the “minimalist” option. That option, focused on “surface parking” bays rather than more complex multi-level parking, would be less expensive initially than the other two options aired.
That option is to be explored and refined further by engineers for more detailed presentation at a later meeting.
In other action, the mayor and aldermen approved a $400 scholarship for Tim Bowman, athletic director of the Parks & Recreation Department who has been working toward a degree, approved routine signage requests related to an upcoming charitable yard sale at Greeneville Adventist Academy and to the town’s Iris Festival, and approved on second reading a minor amendment of the city code to allow the assistant to the city administrator also to serve as the town’s director of occupational safety and health.
The board also approved a rezoning change from medium density residential zoning to high impact use zoning for property at the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Old Stage Road and Rufe Taylor Road, the location of the Greeneville Iron & Metal company.
At the opening of the meeting, several members of the state champion Greeneville High School men’s basketball team, along with Coach Brad Woolsey, received a congratulatory sign from the city and placed their signatures on a similar sign to be hung in the mayor’s office in town hall.
I never knew Ron Jones, a Greeneville-born man who involved himself in many good things in this community before his passing in 2019, but this week I’ve come to feel that I do know him a little.
Speaking to his wife, Donna, about this weekend’s no-reserve auction of more than 100 of the classic cars he collected over the years, I’ve gotten an idea of what made the man tick. His car collecting was only a part of it. That was a hobby that engaged his mind, as did his love of hunting, fishing and outdoor life in general.
What engaged Ron’s heart, though, was doing his part to help those who most needed it. Donna described his service on the board of Holston United Methodist Home for Children as being “dear to his heart.” Likewise he was a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Club and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
He established the Volunteer Long Beards Chapter of the NWTF in Greene County, and through that group sponsored special activities for individuals with various physical limitations and challenges.
It always was important to Ron, Donna told me, to provide opportunity and inclusion for those who might otherwise be overlooked or excluded. That was just who he was. And though his car collection may disperse, his legacy of service will remain with us.
GAA Classic Cars, the company that is conducting this week’s auction, wrote in its publicity materials: “Ron chose to live a humble life and did not widely advertise his achievements or his prized automobile and antique collection. However, many in Eastern Tennessee will always remember the man behind this collection as a true community leader through his active participation in numerous charitable organizations and helping to build the identity of Greeneville.”
One goal he had that he was unable to fulfill due to his decline in health and later passing was creation of a car museum for Greeneville that would showcase his collection.
Family members in addition to Donna included a daughter named Angela, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Though born in Greeneville, Ron and Donna lived in Kingsport for years, where Don worked with the Eastman company.
The cars to be auctioned Saturday are part of a collection he started with a single Ford Model A coupe. That collection, large enough to crowd a warehouse, expanded not only in number but in variety, coming to include various high-performance cars, with an emphasis on Chrysler models, but also including Ford and General Motors.
According to the journal.classiccars.com website, this weekend’s auction will feature vehicles ranging from a 1924 REO Speedwagon and a 1926 Rickenbacker roadster to a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird and a 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
An industrialist by trade (he founded and owned the local RPC Specialty Coatings plant), Jones was a constantly busy, life-loving man, according to wife Donna. And he kept up an active schedule despite health problems that eventually caused him physical pain he somehow managed to keep hidden from most around him.
He hunted and fished and farmed despite pain that would have been crippling to many. He was jovial and friendly, I’m told, and loved his home community and its people.
His Greeneville Sun obituary said of him: “His biggest enjoyments were collecting old cars, tractors, implements and spending time with his family, friends and especially his hunting buddies in South Dakota.”
Ron and Donna also owned land in South Dakota that they visited periodically. Ron liked to hunt and fish there, as he did in Tennessee, and even set up outdoor events for challenged individuals similar to those he and NWTF sponsored here. There was one difference though: the Dakota outings involved pheasants rather than wild turkeys.
As for this weekend’s auction, the fact it is a no-reserve auction means that everything sold will go to the top bidder for that vehicle, even if the bid is lower than the vehicle’s market value.
Those sufficiently interested and motivated may make the road trip to Greensboro and attend the auction in person, but must register as bidders to be present at the event.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and the auction begins at 10 a.m.
There’s no necessity for the trip, though, in that the auction will stream online, and online bidding is available. Again, though, bidders must register.
To register as a bidder or to see more about the auction and the Jones collection, visit www.gaaclassiccars.com.
For even more online information about Ron, his cars and the auction, visit www.journal.classiccars.com/2021/03/28/175-lot-ron-jones-collection-headed-to-gaa-sale.
The Taste of Greeneville event scheduled for May 4 at the Greene County Fairgrounds has been canceled, Main Street: Greeneville and the Greeneville Woman’s Club announced on Tuesday.
Refunds will be given for tickets already purchased.
According to a news release from Main Street: Greeneville, several issues affecting local restaurants including staffing, food availability and costs led to the decision.
This year’s Taste of Greeneville was to be its 31st edition and its return after last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The change of venue, from the General Morgan Inn to the fairgrounds, was meant to provide more space for social distancing, the organizers said in March.
Sarah Webster, president of Main Street board of directors, and Teresa Lawrence, president of the Greeneville Woman’s Club, expressed appreciation in the news release for the local restaurants and vendors who made an attempt to participate this year and said all of them are anxious to continue the event in the future.
The organizers said they “especially appreciate our title sponsors of TEVET and the Capitol Theatre for their support and are happy they are continuing to support projects in our local community.”
“We are truly sorry for this. We continue to encourage our members and everyone in the community to support local businesses via dine in, carry out and delivery. They deserve our support,” Main Street: Greeneville Executive Director Jann Mirkov said.
All tickets purchased through Eventbrite will be credited to the original method of payment, according to the release, and those who purchased tickets at the Main Street office or from a member of either organization may request a refund by going to the Main Street: Greeneville office, 310 S. Main St., prior to April 30.
Ticket money not refunded by the deadline will be donated to the organizers to be used toward their local projects, the release said.
Any questions may be directed to the Main Street Greeneville office at 423-639-7102.