As the core of downtown Knoxville continues to thrive, city officials want to make sure some key property on the periphery is not left on the outside looking in.
Bring in the Urban Land
Institute, a non-profit Washington, D.C.-based research center on land
use, to provide input about four prime areas: World's Fair Park, the
Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, the Supreme Court site, and the area
where the McClung warehouse buildings once stood.
"We think it's
very important that we get a fresh set of eyes to look at where we've
come in the last decade and what steps we need to be taking over the
next several years to enhance that development," said Bob Whetsel,
Director of the Office of Redevelopment for the city. "As we've said for
years, downtown Knoxville is everybody's neighborhood, and everybody
comes here from all around.
"When people come in for Boomsday,
they're going to come into downtown," he added. "When people come in for
UT football games, they're going to come in for downtown. People all
around the area book the Convention Center for uses, so we think all
this works together."
The City Council is expected to sign off on a
$125,000 contract with the ULI next week. If approved, the organization
will send an advisory panel of national consultants to Knoxville from
The panel will investigate the sites and conduct a
series of interviews with more than 100 stakeholders, including business
owners, nearby residents, developers and groups with key interests in
the downtown area like Knox Heritage.
On Oct. 10, the panel will
also deliver a community report about its findings, and then a few
months later give the city a more detailed written report.
You can read the rest of our story, which we broke last night, RIGHT SMACK HERE.