Posted on September 23, 2019
“No one worked harder for the Foothills Parkway than Dean Stone. No one celebrated the Great Smokies more enthusiastically then Dean Stone. And no one told the story of Blount County and its residents longer and better than Dean Stone.” -- Senator Lamar Alexander
WEARS VALLEY, Tenn., September 23, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said naming “one of the most beautiful bridges in America” on the Foothills Parkway the “Dean Stone Bridge” ensures that visitors to the parkway will always know Stone’s legacy.
“No one worked harder for the Foothills Parkway than Dean Stone. No one celebrated the Great Smokies more enthusiastically then Dean Stone. And no one told the story of Blount County and its residents longer and better than Dean Stone,” Alexander said. “As the Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times put it, ‘For more than half of its existence, there was one constant human resource serving Blount County at its community newspaper: Dean Stone.’”
Stone became managing editor of The Daily Times in 1949 and retired 67 years later. Senator Alexander said Stone hired him when Alexander was still a student at Maryville High School. “Other than lawn-mowing and paper routes, Dean gave me my first real job — the school page editor for Maryville High,” Alexander continued. “Ever since, Dean Stone and his family have been close friends.”
Alexander and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation to the name the Dean Stone Bridge on January 16. The legislation was signed into law by President Trump on March 12. Former U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) had introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives. The bridge is located on the newly opened section of the Foothills Parkway. This section of Foothills Parkway was a priority for Alexander when he was governor in the 1980s and the state Department of Transportation took the lead on a section of the parkway between Carrs Creek and Wears Valley. As a U.S. senator, he included $17.5 million for parkway construction in the 2005 federal highway bill. Since then, he worked with his colleagues in Congress to help provide the funding necessary to complete the “missing link” – a 1.65 mile segment of the new 16-mile section comprised of nine bridges – and open this section of the parkway to the public. The Dean Stone Bridge is one of those nine bridges.
In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Transportation submitted a TIGER grant application for federal funds to complete this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway. Alexander urged the Department to approve the $10 million TIGER grant request, which it did on July 28, 2016. The state of Tennessee committed an additional $15 million in funding to complete the project. The National Park Service Federal Lands Transportation Program provided the remaining funding necessary to finish the 16 miles.