Speaking of a Cove

Mr. Sole Commissioner Whitfield,  

I live in  a cove in western most Chattanooga. My back yard is woods. My front yard is woodland too.

My neighbors and I had chance to voice our disagreement in 1996 to the proposed sale of a portion of the farm that dominated this cove and we did. There weren’t very many of us. One member of the group that listened to us make our case remembered me from prior years. He gave me a good listen and made the rest of that group listen too. You see, he was William Cotton. He lived in Alton Park and, when the wind came from the east it would take his breath away, the stench from Bunge Oil was so strong. So he understood when we said we didn’t want an industrial neighbor on a piece of that farm. The sale would have taken 35 acres of a 225-acre farm. It would have to be rezoned industrial.

Now I know the land in argument near McLemore Cove is industrial zoned. The headache I saw was that if the farm went piecemeal it would slowly become industrial that we residents could not escape from. Our places no one would want to buy to be neighbors to 24-hour industry. So when we did sell it would be at a loss. My father was born on that farm. So was my uncle. 

My point is this. That sale we stopped resulted in the farm becoming available to some businessmen and developers who had a good plan.  They ran with it. I dare you to research what Cummings Cove or Black Creek Mountain is in tax assessments now.  And property tax income. In 1998 I could have bought that farm for $1.2 million. So don’t worry what you wish for, think about what you could get if you aim at what could come. Never count your chickens before they hatch is one saying I hear.

I wish you well, sir, with this. And I do advise you lower your bluster at the onset of what may be a long campaign. You are not only talking about the livelihood of your county, but you are also representing one of the more sacred places in this land. The young will thank you for saving it. Granted some of us are here for ourselves, a lot of us are here for our grandchildren as well.  

Prentice Hicks

Lookout Valley