Rhea County is Positioned for Success
An Editorial by Senator Ken Yager
February 2014 — For several years now I have had the opportunity to get to know Rhea County. My first connection was through Bryan College where my daughter graduated. Since 2008 the voters have allowed me to represent Rhea in the Tennessee General Assembly. The citizens of this great county have always made me feel welcome. In fact, I feel at home in Rhea County.
I’d like to share some observations I’ve made about John Rhea’s namesake.
Rhea County is a premier Tennessee county that has not only weathered the Great Recession but positioned itself well for success in the years ahead.
Rhea County is committed to education. The decision to build, a new high school is a good example. A state of the art facility, local leadership wisely has planned for future growth in the enrollment.
Bryan College is a nationally acclaimed college which provides a quality education in a spiritual environment. Chattanooga State Community College has a site in the county. The governor’s proposed Tennessee Promise will give many Rhea county students an opportunity to attend community college or an applied college of technology.
And how many mid-sized counties have a graduate school? Oxford Graduate School attracts scholars from across the nation.
Rhea has Strong Local leadership. The Rhea Economic Tourism Council (RETC) is one of a kind. Not many counties can claim such a collaborative, inclusive economic development organization. I’ve attended these meeting am impressed every time with the lack of “turfism” that characterizes its effort. Because of this – and consistently good economic development agents – the local industrial parks are filled with industries that are the envy of surrounding counties. Some have even announced expansions. Thanks to the industries in Rhea County for their commitment to our local economy. The county is sure to maintain its strong manufacturing base.
Rhea is blessed with vibrant cities. Dayton is the only city in the 12th district that participates in the Main Street Program. It’s really paid off. Dayton is a vibrant community bustling with activity. And in Spring City, the commercial development along U.S. 27 has made a positive impact. The Spring City museum and parks are a destination point for many visitors. Graysville should be proud of the new city hall/library which is a credit to any town.
Rhea Has Tourism Potential. Rhea County is the home of two TVA reservoirs, Watts Bar Lake and Chickamauga Lake. Local leadership has had the vision to exploit this advantage to lure professional fishing tournaments which fill the local motels and restaurants. The effort to revitalize the Watts Bar Resort will pay off in spades. And the Scopes Trial and Strawberry Festival continue to showcase the county to thousands.
The county knows where it comes from. The 2012 Bicentennial Celebration in Old Washington and continuing restoration efforts by the local historical society engenders a sense of pride in all of us about Rhea’s distinguished past and builds sense of optimism for the future. The future bodes well for both the cities and the county.
The work done by the men and women to make life better in Rhea County make my job as Senator a pleasure. I stand ready with renewed energy to work with local leadership to accomplish their goals.