In the seven years since my wife and I moved to Knoxville, we have been impressed with the ambitious renovation efforts that have been undertaken in places such as Market Square, Gay Street, and the Old City. Knoxville is rightfully showing pride in the unique geographical and cultural setting we call home.
Having said that, I have lived and traveled in enough places to feel able to point out two locales within the city that I believe hold the potential, if carefully developed, to be nothing short of world-class. One is the south waterfront, which, with its meandering riverscape and high bluffs, is to me reminiscent of Prague or Heidelberg. If existing industrial facilities can be replaced with a comfortable mixture of greenspace and dining spots, I believe Knoxville will be able to boast of a riverfront that compares favorably with virtually any city's.
The second is the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, a 200-year-old plant nursery that features hundreds of feet of picturesque stone walls and roundhouses. The Garden's setting, which offers views of the Smoky Mountains that can rightly be described as breathtaking, is second to none. If formal gardens can be expanded, and facilities upgraded, Knoxville will have a botanical garden that is truly one of a kind.
As Knoxville continues to reclaim its rightful stature as an outstanding place to live or to visit, the same far-sighted planning that has brought us this far must go on. As city and county leaders turn their focus to future projects meant to heighten quality of life for us all, I hope they will help to ensure that the south waterfront and Botanical Garden continue to receive the resources and attention they deserve. The results could be extraordinary.