As I understand it, Knoxville is going to receive a new walkway connecting the State Street parking garage to the backside of Gay Street business, landing where the escalator is now. Meanwhile, we will use a staircase to venture up onto Gay Street. While more parking is great and needed in downtown Knoxville, I have a question: Why are we not building businesses including shops and restaurants on State and even South Central Street? The perpendicular side streets between Gay and State, as well as South Central Street, have a lot of useable space as well. The hills are great, too; terrain such as this has helped to define a few other great American cities.
Knoxville has a great and easily maneuverable downtown, but with a few exceptions, essentially all of the good stuff lies on Gay Street and in Market Square. Once I veer off those two paths, there is not a whole lot of anything else to do. A lap or two and I have seen all there is to see in our beautiful downtown neighborhood. Granted, the Old City has attractions, shops, and restaurants, but the connection between it and central downtown is not very obvious.
State Street and South Central Street do not need a facelift, they need a completely new game; and with proper advertisement and hype, almost any business will be able to become a staple and a gateway to something new in Knoxville.
Edward B. Shalett