By Max Hrenda
In October of 2002, then-Johnson County Mayor Dick Grayson applied for federal assistance to install and extend water utility lines in the Sutherland community in Shady Valley.
Eleven years and one mayor later, that community’s wait has come to an end.
On Friday, some of Tennessee’s lawmakers and Johnson County’s local leaders gathered at the Sutherland Community Church in Shady Valley to celebrate the completion of one of the state’s longer running projects.
Current Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter began the ceremony by thanking the officials in attendance not only for attending the event, but for their work in securing the project’s conclusion.
“I really appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, you all coming out today to acknowledge this,” Potter said.
Forty-three homes in Shady Valley will now have access to fully functional water lines. The project extended water lines from state Route 133, adjacent Johnson County roads, and South Shady Street in nearby Damascus, Va., and was assisted by nearly every conceivable level of government – Johnson County, the Washington County (Va.) Service Authority, the state of Tennessee, the commonwealth of Virginia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I guess it’s true,” Potter said. “When government works together, at its best, (it is) for a reason like this. I can’t thank you enough for these people and getting water up here.”
That sentiment was echoed by state Rep. Timothy Hill, who represents Johnson, Carter, and parts of Sullivan counties in the state Legislature.
“I’m excited to see the determination from one mayor to the next, from a Congressman and a lieutenant governor, and to be able to see a good project finally get finished,” Hill said. “It just shows a real sense of community.”