MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An East Tennessee mayor is asking the federal government to allow Blount County to take on the financial responsibility of reopening portions of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
October is one of the busiest times of the year for the park, which was closed during the partial government shutdown.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell told The Daily Times on Friday that he sent the request to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. He said the letter asks whether the county can take on reopening parts of the park for tourism at no cost to the federal government.
He said the park's closure is having a "tremendous impact" on residents and businesses, many of whom cater to tourists.
Mitchell says he hopes to get a quick response.
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