Sevier County hopeful but skeptical of new potential owners for

Sevier County hopeful but skeptical of new potential owners for Dumplin Creek

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The plot of land just off of I-40 in Kodak sits empty with big piles of dirt visible from the road. The plot of land just off of I-40 in Kodak sits empty with big piles of dirt visible from the road.
"A lot of people here, they were looking for opportunities for more jobs," co-owner of Pizza Place Plus Johar Lashin said. "I really hope it goes through." "A lot of people here, they were looking for opportunities for more jobs," co-owner of Pizza Place Plus Johar Lashin said. "I really hope it goes through."

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KODAK (WATE) - It's something Sevier County has heard before – a developer is planning on buying the Dumplin Creek development site.

Five years ago, the community was told there would be a new shopping center at the site by 2009, but that never came to fruition.

Now, Sevier County residents are hoping that latest news that Neyland Land Associates plans to purchase the land is the real deal.

"They said it's going to happen, then it didn't happen," co-owner of Pizza Place Plus Johar Lashin said. "It's been off and on."

Pizza Place Plus in Kodak sits around two miles from Dumplin Creek.

Lashin said the community needs the area to be developed quickly for the employment opportunities.

"A lot of people here, they were looking for opportunities for more jobs," Lashin said. "I really hope it goes through."

Neyland Land Associates is in the process of buying the 200-acre plot of land that sits along Interstate 40 near exit 407.

The Chocolate Monkey in Kodak is across the road from the unused land and workers said the piles of dirt are an eyesore for the area.

"It obstructs the beauty of the area," Chocolate Monkey Manager Lorit Tabisz said.

Tabisz said building new shops and restaurants in the area will help bring more foot traffic and new customers.

"The more customers we have towards this area, the better," Tabisz said. "I really think it would help us tremendously, all of us here in this area."

The new potential owners aren't releasing any details yet on what exactly they plan to build at the site, but some locals said they have their own thoughts on what could best serve the community.

"If they can bring the Walmarts in and the big stores in I think it'll open up a lot for the economy," Kodak resident Tom Vermette said.

"Some shoe stores, clothing stores, sporting good-type of thing with the baseball field close by," Kodak resident Lorrie Vaught said.

TDOT Spokesman Mark Nagi said improvements to Exit 407 are currently in the design phase. He said the department would consider adding a new exit for Dumplin Creek, "Exit 408", once that improvement project was complete and new traffic patterns had been evaluated.

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