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Lake City, Tennessee to be Rocky Top Tennessee?

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LAKE CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Despite the famous bluegrass song, Rocky Top, Tenn., has never actually been home sweet home to anyone.


It's not a town at all, but a rocky outcropping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than 5,400 feet high on the Appalachian Trail.


Now, an East Tennessee county commissioner and a group of silent partners want to do something about that. Reasoning that the name Rocky Top has cachet, they are promising an impoverished town of 1,700 big things if the residents would be willing to change the town's name from Lake City to that of the song.


As most college football fans in the Southeast know, "Rocky Top" is the fight song of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. The bluegrass standard is one of the state songs of Tennessee.


Country composers Boudleaux and Felice Bryant of Gatlinburg, Tenn., wrote the song in 10 minutes in 1967, inspired by tales about the spot on Thunderhead Mountain, about 50 miles from Lake City.


The song has since been recorded by dozens of performers, including Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, the Osborne Brothers and Lynn Anderson.


In Lake City, supporters hope a name change would have them tuning in newfound prosperity. Development plans include a Disney-style interactive, 3-D animated theater; a Branson, Mo.-style live music venue; an indoor-outdoor waterpark and a 500-seat paddleboat restaurant on an as yet-to-be-constructed artificial lake, according to Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel.





Other ideas include a candy corn company - a very loose reference to the moonshine-soaked lyric, "Corn don't grow at all on Rocky Top, dirt's too rocky by far. That's why all the folks on Rocky Top get their corn from a jar."
And they even have an idea for a mascot: a skating duck named Streudel.
There are also plans down the road for an amusement park, and Isbel says he is not concerned that the hugely popular Dollywood theme park is only an hour away.


At city hall Thursday night, a standing-room-only crowd broke into loud applause after the council took the first step toward making the change, voting to ask the state legislature for authorization. State Rep. John Ragan was at the meeting and said he thought it would pass easily in Nashville.
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