LaFollette works on downtown revitalization

(WBIR-LaFollette) Many cities have experienced both the positives and negatives to urban sprawl and big businesses. One East Tennessee city is trying to reverse some of that, and bring people back to downtown.

LaFollette recently hired Gary McGill with McGill and Associates, based in Knoxville, to re-imagine the downtown.

According to Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger, about 10 people will be a part of a focus group to target areas that need improvement.

"I can remember as a boy growing up here in LaFollette that when you walked down the street on the weekend, you could hardly get down the sidewalk," Bolinger said.

The city is also working with the state to apply for downtown and main street grants.

"We're trying to get people in the private sector to buy into this also. That's the only way it's going to work," Bolinger said.

Citizens already have ideas of what they would like to see.

Mark Mills would like the group to focus on businesses for teenagers saying, "That's why kids get into trouble now in this community because they have nothing to do for kids."

Last month the city enforced cleanup efforts to some of the buildings in LaFollette and made several drug and prostitution related arrests.

City leaders said they hope it will make the city more appealing to new businesses as they move forward with revitalizing downtown.


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