published Friday, February 28th, 2014

Rhea County bicycle race scheduled for fall

Zach Poole enjoys a walk in the sun with Tucker, a 3-month old chocolate Labrador retriever, at the walking park in Dayton, Tenn., adjacent from the crumbling rock wall alongside Richland Creek.  Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said at a recent economic meeting that the city would fix it "as soon as possible," once the state reviews and approves the repairs.
Zach Poole enjoys a walk in the sun with Tucker, a 3-month old chocolate Labrador retriever, at the walking park in Dayton, Tenn., adjacent from the crumbling rock wall alongside Richland Creek. Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said at a recent economic meeting that the city would fix it "as soon as possible," once the state reviews and approves the repairs.
Photo: Kimberly McMillian

DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County economic leaders this week discussed plans for a 60-mile, countywide bicycle race in September, just one of a series of events planned to draw tourists this year.

The race will attract "a tremendous amount" of people, Spring City Chamber of Commerce President Jim Reed said at the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council meeting. He said officials should promote opportunities for sponsorship that could help with participation.

Officials last month announced the upcoming debut of the race, which will involve all three Rhea County cities of Graysville, Dayton and Spring City, on the weekend of Sept. 12.

Vaughn Berger, president of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, said he expected it to be "a great event" for the area. He said later that a vendors' village with health food options and racing gear, along with a rock climbing wall and games, could help promote and attract more tourists to the event.

Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said last month that the county would host a number of fishing tournaments, including the American Bass Anglers weekend series, the Bassmasters Classic and Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Open on Chickamauga Lake.

Executive Director Dennis Tumlin said the Cabela's tournament on March 14-15 would receive national coverage.

The tournament's website, www.CollegiateBassChampionship.com, labeled Lake Chickamauga in Dayton "one of the nation's hottest bass fishing lakes."

Other events scheduled for Rhea County include MainStreet Dayton's "Spring Fling" on April 12 and the Tennessee Strawberry Festival on May 9-10, which will feature a "Rhea's Got Talent" contest and a $1,000 cash prize.

The Dayton Chamber's new Arts, Cultural and Historical Committee plans to host a summer concert series at Centennial Park, and MainStreet Dayton plans to showcase movie nights there.

Louallen said the downtown walking park's rock wall has partially crumbled from recent flooding, and that it would be repaired as soon as possible pending state review and approval of the work.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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