The Gatlinburg City Commission had a full room and a full agenda during its meeting Tuesday as the board took up plans to speed up the rebuilding process in Gatlinburg, add additional two-way radios for first responders and create additional affordable housing in the city.

Mayor Mike Werner led the meeting by thanking everyone in the room for being there and reminding them Gatlinburg will rebuild after the devastating fires destroyed so much, including his own home and business. 
 
"We are seeing a lot of people clean up their properties which is great because Gatlinburg is in the recovery and healing stage and we are moving forward," Werner said. 
 
The city is moving forward to establish a date of Sept. 30, 2017 for all private property owners to remove debris from the fire.
 
"I think it's a reasonable time and it's so important because there are just new beginnings in Gatlinburg," Werner said.
 
Officials also approved a resolution to apply for a housing investment program which would help create affordable housing in the city. 
 
The resolution will allow the city to participate in the Tennessee Housing Development Agency Home Investment Program.
 
The city will know by mid-May if they are approved for the three year contract. 
 
Another item discussed was the purchase of 18 new two-way radios for the fire department because 6 of theirs were destroyed in the fire. 
 
The city will also need additional radios to operate a new emergency flood evacuation system they plan to install in mid-March.
 
"We are just always trying to think of what could we do to make it safer for everybody so this is just a part of that," Werner said.
 
Mark Adams, the CEO of the City's Convention and Visitor's Bureau, also spoke and told the room the number of visitors to the city has increased from 2015 to 2016. 
 
For Werner, the focus is on the future of Gatlinburg, one he hopes will be strong.
 
"We are pressing forward and everything is going to be better than ever," he added. 
 
The next city commission meeting is March 7 at the City Hall building off Highway 321. 
 
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