This week's cover story compiles suggestions from local luminaries on what our new and future mayors ought to be focusing on in 2011. Some of our readers also had a few ideas to consider:
Frances Parsons: Enforce the environmental and protection issues in Knox County; i.e. trash and overgrown ditches in neighborhoods that can cause flooding of property and lowering the value of property. We live in a condominium complex in West Knoxville that has a ditch running behind our property; the ditch goes under David Lane off Kingston Pike. The ditch is overgrown with trash and bushes, etc. We have been told this ditch is on private property and is the responsibility of homeowners. A huge tree has fallen in the ditch onto our property and the owner refuses to remove it; with hard rains this could present problems for our owners. We have presented this situation to county commissioners. We have been told there is no agency in the county that oversees these ditches or is responsible for them. This could be a countywide problem for other neighborhoods.
Robert Neal: Disband the PBA and Development Corporation. These duties should be done by elected government representatives. Not by un-elected bureaucrats who are not accountable to anyone.
Donna McClure: Sidewalks for the city and county, bike lanes, more downtown development including a new library. And free beer on Fridays.
Tissie Chambers: I would like to drive past downtown Knoxville, and see something gorgeous. Instead, I see a burned-out warehouse on Jackson (that the city can't seem to resolve—it's an eyesore), and other shabby looking buildings from I-40. Imagine how that makes visitors, passing through our town, feel about Knoxville! Not very appealing. I would love to see some lights on the tall buildings downtown. Something needs to stand out for our downtown. And has anyone ever heard of paint, and sandblasting brick?
I would love to be the tourism planner for Knoxville. Our city/county needs to be known for something besides the town they pass through to get to the Smokies. We need an attraction. We need a nickname. Look at what Chattanooga has done. They are on the map. We have a river, a university, great roads, history, and so many more assets. Why can't anyone find something to set us apart and make Knoxville a destination?
Take advantage of some great companies in Knoxville and schedule weekends featuring them. Take HGTV: We could do filming shows, cookouts, restaurant tours, etc. Or let communities have parades, instead of in downtown. Make Jackson Avenue the Home Furnishings/Interior Design/Art District. Create e-bulletin boards/e-billboards throughout the city/county for upcoming events in Knoxville, so it is easy to find out what is coming up and happening.
We need interstate exits signs/mileage calculations in the center median of I-40 similar to the ones they use on I-75 in southern Florida. Additionally, I have noticed a few community sign markers, i.e. West Hills (at the I-40 ramp), Pond Gap (at the school). I would love to see more of these throughout the county. They are very attractive and are very informative. I visited Indianapolis, and their downtown street (like our Gay Street) was called "Restaurant Row." It was their destination point for visitors and convention attendees. This would be very easy to accomplish in Knoxville. We have all the best restaurants in the world. We could give everyone something to like.
There you have it.....my 2 cents worth.