citybeat (2005-47)

Waterfront Wish List

Barking up a Tree

DIY’s ‘Barkitecture’ builds a treehouse for a deserving dog

On the far wall, a crowd gathers around huge interactive posters headlined by the question: “What is our vision for the Knoxville Waterfront District’s future?” Gesturing enthusiastically, individuals respond with a laundry list of ideas and concerns. A woman scribbles their statements on the poster in permanent marker, adding tally marks each time a point is repeated.

Community input is the focus of a South Waterfront Development Public Workshop series, the first of which was held last Thursday in the Kerbela Shriners Temple. Mayor Bill Haslam opened the forum with an outline of his two objectives for waterfront development: maintaining an open process and making the project viable. George Hargreaves, the consulting firm’s principal-in-charge, later echoed Haslam’s sentiments, saying, “Our job is to bring a vision to this, and we’re going to seize that vision through your eyes.”

Such emphasis on democracy is a clever move on behalf of the waterfront’s developers. There are trust issues at stake—in the past, South Knoxville residents have proven fiercely protective of their community, and varying degrees of mistrust toward the parties who will be remodeling its future are still evident. “Will my property be seized? How will this development affect me ?” were two of several concerns listed on the public input posters.

The developers are doing their best, however, to soothe such worries. At the end of the workshop, Hargreaves announced that he was going to take down the suggestion-laden posters and use them as a blueprint for the master plan. “We’re going to look very closely at these (comments), and if we don’t bring back something that reflects this, you tell us,” he said.

Take Hargreaves up on his challenge: The following is a full transcription of suggestions written on the first workshop’s public input posters. A second public workshop, to include a presentation of planning options based on these suggestions, will be held Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at Kerbela Shriners Temple.

Arts & Culture : a centrally located amphitheater; Fort Dickerson Park as a historic cultural destination; preserve Fort Stanley; creative culture that encourages entrepreneurship; interactive children’s museum/center; library within context of green space

Commerce : public market for local produce growers; a good restaurant; a great coffee shop; gallon of milk and loaf of bread within walking distance; locally owned businesses

Environment : wildlife corridors extending from Ijams Nature Center; environmentally sensitive development; preserve and promote urban forests; landscape with native plants; more community gardens; preservation of wooded steep slopes

Greenways : shore-to-shore pedestrian access to take advantage of existing greenways; bikeways into the neighborhood from adjacent neighborhoods; pedestrian bridge attached to railroad; promenade/ river walk below Baptist Hospital; connect quarry to Fort Dickerson and UT agriculture campus; a great public space

Housing: mixed-use development; residential over retail, without losing historic charm; development that respects the rights of current property owners; preserve/create the full range of housing opportunities; detached single family housing for lower income households; preserve neighborhood zone stability; enhance residential property values; model sustainable structures, emphasis on use of sustainable materials and building practices; no gated communities; housing rehabilitation assistance; neighborhood safety; emphasis on use of sustainable materials and building practices; maintain the demographic diversity of the area

Roads: Main Street “look” with sign limitations; preserve the scale of Sevier Avenue

Schools: a new South Knoxville high school; close proximity of schools to neighborhoods; more sidewalks

Transit : water taxi connectivity; use of existing railway bridges to bring people from UT to South Knoxville via a tram/trolley that goes on rail and road; attention to transit and light-rail; better use of Island Home Airport

Water Recreation : more rowing/paddling access and facilities; waterfront public access; full-service boatyard; counterpoint to north shore—softer, more natural, smaller boats

Other: greater use of UT facilities by the community; expand study area to Alcoa Bridge; use curve of river to emphasize structures, save the JFG sign as gateway to South Knoxville; preserve country feel of the area; development that benefits people on both sides of the river; European/New England feel


Barking up a Tree

Filming takes place monthly at the one-year-old, dog-poop scented shelter, in a side room where they’ve set up Alfonso’s mock “office.”

“We knew what we wanted the show to be, which was an adoption-driven building show, and this was the obvious choice for a shelter because it’s a beautiful facility, and they were

Today, producers Woods, Matthew Klarich and Steve Greene do several takes of a segment where Alfonso looks up from his drawing board, among a collection of rulers and pencils, and explains the dog’s specific need. The dog in question—Shelby, an Australian Cattle Dog—was adopted months ago by Rachel and Tommy Tucker, a South Knoxville couple who came to the shelter and requested the least adoptable dog. They left with Shelby, a cinnamon-colored dog with white spots. Despite her initial resistance to the leash and sundry social problems, the Tuckers transformed her into a well-adjusted, affectionate pup, and wrote a letter of appreciation to the shelter. When Barkitecture producers sought out the subject of their 27th episode, the last of their second season, they were directed to the Tuckers.

“They could see how compassionate I was toward all the animals at the shelter,” says Rachel Tucker. “Doing the show is very exciting and [I’d take part in] anything that would help to promote the adopting of animals. I would take a hundred of them if I could.”

Local creative mind Preston Farabow, who designs each of the canine cribs, decided that Shelby ought to have a treehouse to accommodate her breed’s natural proclivity to climb up high. Early Sunday morning, the Barkitecture crew transformed the Tuckers’ home into a TV studio and a construction zone and began work on the lofty structure, reached by way of a ramp.

Hosted also by University of Tennessee vet Dr. Karen Tobias, the show offers tips about pet care for specific breeds and other medical and grooming advice. Among dozens of other projects, taped episodes (the majority of which have yet to air) have seen the construction of a doggie-sized log cabin, canvas tent and travel trailer. Farabow has designed a water trough, a wrought iron gate, a kitchen cabinet for dog food storage, and a padded doghouse for an epileptic dog.

The show airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the DIY network.


Wednesday, Nov. 16


Thursday, Nov. 17


Friday, Nov. 18


Saturday, Nov. 19


Sunday, Nov. 20


Monday, Nov. 21

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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