Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Some of you news buffs may remember hearing about a devastating ash spill at TVA's Kingston Steam Plant on December 22 of this year. TVA is still engaged in the cleanup of that catastrophic containment breach, and settling with area home owners that lost their homes and property.

In a further attempt to make amends and gain positive PR, the Tennessee Valley Authority has earmarked $43 million in Roane County, Tennessee restoration projects. While education is the primary area needing funding, a portion of that funding, $1.7 million, was awarded to the Princess Foundation Project, a project that I have been a part of since the first of 2009.

In celebration of that good news, I posted this piece on the Princess Theater Blog today:


The Roane County Economic Development Foundation announced today the projects that will be funded with the money TVA donated on Monday (9/14/09) for the restoration of Roane County, Tennessee.

Today (9/16/09) the Foundation announced the “approved” projects that the $43 million earmarked for Roane County economic development. Those specific projects were:

$5 million: Kingston sewer improvements

$32,000: Rockwood paving improvements

$1.7 million: Princess Theater complex renovation in Harriman

An approval for $32 million for the Roane County school system expansion is anticipated to come very soon.

The $1.7 million for the restoration of the Princess "complex" area in Downtown Harriman, could actually have been included in the promised $32 million that will be directed toward the Roane County school system, since the theater, and the two adjacent buildings, will become an Arts Education and Conferencing Center managed by Roane State Community College. However, it is important to highlight the Princess Project because this project will have a long lasting effect on the County’s educational system, and bring new life to Downtown Harriman area.

Most people think the Princess will become a “movie theater” again, which is far from the truth. True, there may be times a special movie, especially ones created by local movie makers and/or the arts departments of Roane State and the local high schools, is shown and premiered at the Princess Theater, but the truth is the primary purpose of the auditorium segment of the Arts Education and Conferencing Center “complex” (see area #3 in the photo above) will be for arts and event productions, large scale teleconferencing meetings, reunions and similar party and planning events, and live music.

Area #1 (in photo above) is slated to become a TV and radio station operated by the students of Roane State Community College. Area #2 will become part of the lobby of area #3, an area that will showcase art and memorabilia. Area #4 will be used as project related offices, teleconferencing management/control areas, and dressing areas for the various events, shows, and live music.

The result of such a “complex” will be the enhancement of arts education in the area which results in entertainment for the citizens of the area.

As Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said today, “This Princess project will have more of a positive impact on the downtown revitalization than anything else we could have done. The best thing about this project is that it will expand our youth’s education throughout the region and that is what really motivates me to keep going on this project.

The Mayor went on to say, “Today I have the pleasure to let you know that the Roane County Economic Development Board voted unanimously to give the Princess Foundation for Arts Education and Conference Center $1.7 million for the project. This, combined with the grant will fully finish the project and make it the most technologically advanced building in our county. It will be an extension of RSCC campus where all of our youth will be able to participate and take classes in media production, lighting, stage production, sound design etc. It will bring tourists in from out of town to watch shows on the weekend as well as be the catalyst for economic growth downtown.

I want to thank everyone that has participated in this LONG endeavor including the Harriman City Council that formally passed a resolution requesting that this project be funded. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS THAT HARRIMAN HAS HAD IN THE LAST 40+ YEARS!! This project WILL change the downtown as we currently know it and will change the lives of so many youth in our region.

The projected open date will be Summer 2010.

Thanks again…the future is bright for the City of Harriman!”


Kevin said...

That's really cool. It's good to see historic buildings get the attention they deserve. There's an old Fox theater in downtown Riverside, CA that's been "in the renevation process" for at least the last fifteen years. Never seems to get done. 1.7 million is a serious shot in the arm.

Suldog said...

That's pretty cool news, Mushy. I know how much this means to you. Congrats!

FHB said...

Wonderful. It sucks that it took such a trajic spill to make it happen, but it's wonderful that it will go forward. Too bad all of out tax money doesn't get spent on good things like this.

Scott from Oregon said...


Shrinky said...

Roll on Summer 2010! It's places like this that puts the heart into a community, well done for getting involved Paul - many generations to come will reap the benefits, time and again!