Lake City becomes Rocky Top, sign changes to follow

Lake City becomes Rocky Top, sign changes to follow

Posted:
It's official. Lake City is no more and the name Rocky Top is taking over. It's official. Lake City is no more and the name Rocky Top is taking over.
George Robinson at City Barber Shop has seen quite a bit a change over the years both in hairstyles and in his hometown. George Robinson at City Barber Shop has seen quite a bit a change over the years both in hairstyles and in his hometown.
With City Recorder Chris Phillips' signature, the paperwork is headed to Nashville to make the name change official. With City Recorder Chris Phillips' signature, the paperwork is headed to Nashville to make the name change official.
The biggest cost associated with the new name will be working with TDOT to change the signs on the interstate. The biggest cost associated with the new name will be working with TDOT to change the signs on the interstate.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

ROCKY TOP (WATE) -  It's official. Lake City is no more and the name Rocky Top is taking over.

Previous story: Lake City votes to change name to Rocky Top

George Robinson at City Barber Shop has seen quite a bit a change over the years both in hairstyles and in his hometown.

“I know some people born in Coal Creek, lived in Lake City and will die in Rocky Top," he said.

That's because this isn't the first time this Anderson County town has undergone a change of identity.

“Back in the '30s we went from Coal Creek to Lake City when they dammed up the Clinch River and created Norris Lake,” said Chris Phillips, the city recorder.

With his signature, the paperwork is headed to Nashville to make the name change official.

Workers put up a temporary sign Friday morning welcoming folks to Rocky Top. The rest of town will soon follow.

“In anticipation of this passing, we have already gotten with some vendors, gotten some quotes to change the name on city hall, our public works building, to change the name on our police cars,” said Phillips.

The biggest cost associated with the new name will be working with TDOT to change the signs on the interstate.

“They’re going to do fresh overlays for us and that’s going to be about $32,000,” Phillips said.

They anticipated the name change and factored in the cost to the upcoming year’s fiscal budget.

It will take about 30 days to switch everything throughout town over at Robinson's place. He says after 44 years, he'll keep the name City Barber Shop. But his pup Buddy might soon answer to a different tune. 

“I’m going to change the dog’s name,” Robinson laughed.  

Iit’s less about the name and more about the opportunity for Robinson, as he is hoping to bring jobs and people back to his hometown.

That’s also the hope of county commissioner Tim Isbel.

“We’ve waited for this a long time,” he said.

The hope is to make Rocky Top a tourist attraction, including an amusement park.

Isbel estimates initially the name change will create 150 more jobs, with the hopes of hundreds more to follow.

“When I talked the middle schoolers, the eighth graders that went to Nashville, they asked about the job opportunities, they asked about the financial rewards. They didn’t ask about what types of rides, how fast. It was all about the economic impact, they want to stay here, they want to be able to work and stay here,” said Isbel.

Isbel says they are looking for a CFO and are in discussions with landowners for property for the park.

Phillips says one of the potential spots is the closed down BP station at Exit 128, another way the name could bring new life to the town.

“When you tell people you live in Lake City, they say Lake City, Florida?” said Robinson. “They’ll know where we live now."

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