If the Oct. 20 Knoxville City Council meeting was held in Gotham City, you may have heard Robin say, “Holy Turn Right Here, Batman! City Council just approved to spend $300,000 to help people find their way downtown. Surely, the Penguin is involved in this caper, Batman! It can’t be possible that the good stewards of our tax dollars did this with a clear mind.”
“Unfortunately, it’s not Gotham, Robin. It’s Knoxville, Tenn. City Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Haslam to execute an agreement to develop a downtown wayfinding signage project to direct pedestrians and automobiles. The Council believes this $300,000 is money well spent to direct visitors primarily in and around downtown Knoxville.” “Surely, the Joker is involved in this caper Batman!” “No, Robin, there’s no Joker, either.”
By now I hope you get my political satire. In the old days my grandparents would have called this deal a “pig in a poke.” If you don’t know by now, the City of Knoxville is about to enter into a contract to spend $300,000 to replace the signs in the downtown area only. This comes with a 10 percent annual maintenance agreement cost attached for the life of the contract.
This deal would be more acceptable if only the entire city was to benefit. The boundaries of these new symbols are confined to the Civic Coliseum to the east; Volunteer Landing to the south; the Old City to the north; and 11th Street to the west. What a great deal for downtown. The rest of our neighborhoods are S.O.L.
This would not bother me so much had I not witnessed this same City Council and mayor seemingly agonize to find $175,000 to provide Knoxville Area Transit LIFT transportation service to our disabled citizens so they may live normal lives. The mayor weighed in and talked about our fiscal limitations and how we just can’t provide service to everybody. Never mind the fact that we’ve annexed the city nearly to Sevier County.
It may seem that I’m mixing messages here. Perhaps so, but they are relevant. One message is get off our lazy asses and start watching what our legislative body is doing right in our faces.