- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A plan to lure tourists to downtown Blountville by using the city’s historic architecture and Civil War history is taking shape.

City leaders are moving closer to having a Civil War Memorial Park to commemorate the Battle of Blountville and a tour.

The Bristol Herald Courier (http://bit.ly/1hdXaDB) reports that the plan is to build sidewalks from the Civil War Memorial Park into downtown Blountville so visitors can take a walking tour, learn about the battle and see historic buildings.

“We are trying to offer more to people here in downtown Blountville,” Sullivan County Archives and Tourism Director Shelia Steele Hunt said. “We know the history is here. We just have to make it visible. It’s amazing to think what Blountville will be in five years. You will see tourists in Blountville.”

A $385,000 grant given from the state in 2010 was the seed for the project. Part of the plan is to restore the abandoned sheriff’s building and turn it into an information center with the grant money. But restoring the old sheriff’s home has been challenging due to the historic nature of the building, Sullivan County Planning and Codes Department Director Ambre Torbett said. The project is about to be rebid, and Torbett believes the information center will be completed within two years.

Two landscape architects are working on designs for the military park, and one of them says he is close to finishing.

While designs for the park are under way, restoration is being done on the historic Deery Inn. The Sullivan County Historical Preservation Association has already restored two cabins behind the inn to attract tourists. One was transformed into a one-room schoolhouse, and the other building was turned into a weaving center. Plans are in the works to relocate a historic barn to the property.

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Information from: Bristol Herald Courier, http://www.bristolnews.com