Aldermen for the town of Franklin North Carolina deferred issuing street closure permits for the Smoky Mountain Rumble after several of its members brought up concerns and potential problems with the location of the focal points of the three day rally.
USRiderNews Publishers Scott and Sylvia Cochran came before the Town Board April 2nd requesting permission to close Main Street for the three day festival.
The most vocal opponent of the closure and the rally, Alderman Bob Scott, restated the concerns he brought up a month earlier in a Main Street Merchants meeting. “This is not in the best interest of Franklin,” Alderman Bob Scott said. “Why are you just now coming before this town board, right now, when this has the potential of disrupting this town for three days?” Alderman Scott had previously raised concerns the Smoky Mountain Rumble would attract the "outlaw" motorcycle clubs into Franklin.
Cochran assured the Mayor and Alderman that the Smoky Mountain Rumble wasn't geared toward the 1% club members and few, if any, were likely to show up. Cochran said there wasn't an active dispute between rival clubs and there was no threat of violence erupting during the event.
Several Aldermen expressed concern over closing Main Street for three days. Mayor Joe Collins said, "I don't know if DOT will allow us to close US Hwy 441 for three days. " Collins asked, "Can you get by with just Saturday?" Cochran explained the vendors need more time to set up and tear down, Some set up 18 wheelers with complicated displays that require longer than popping up an Easy Up tent.
Several Alderman expressed support for the event. Sissy Pattillo said, “We’ll never know until we go through this one time,” Pattillo said. “If we go through this one time and it doesn’t work, that’s it.”
Cochran plans to meet with the new Chief of Police in the next few days to work out a plan that's acceptable to the Town Aldermen. Cochran said downtown is the best spot, but he was willing to compromise. "Despite Alderman's Scott's objections, this event would be a tremendous boon to downtown Franklin. The Tourism Development Authority support it, and the downtown retail merchants support it. But, if the Alderman block it from happening downtown, we will seek an alternate location. We're too far committed to turn back now."
Cochran plans to submit a more detailed plan at the next earliest opportunity.