ear (2006-35)

What has 180 Wheels and an Attitude?

Squaring Off

Cost Control?

Midway Middleman?

Land Freeze Frozen

Bug in Our Ear

What has 180 Wheels and an Attitude?

The event drew some 90 bikers by the organizers’ estimates, a motley crew of young and old, clad in spandex and silver lamé, alternately tipsy and sober, rowdy and laid-back. A green-shirted team of road-bikers from Harper’s Bike Shop took home the grand prize, a rather large stuffed bull, after taking it for a victory lap around Market Square. In the spirit of inclusiveness, however, multiple prizes were awarded, ranging from “slowest finisher” to “best style.” The latter was awarded to a team riding under the moniker of Watermelon, who lit sparklers upon approaching each checkpoint, carried a bullhorn, and were costumed in Jazzercise-meets-Team U.S.A. attire.

The awards ceremony took place immediately afterwards at Preservation Pub, where the sweaty crowd made a plea for Busternut, The Sequel. Organizers Stephen Martin and Katie Ries confirm that a v2.0 will take place, but probably not next week as some in the crowd loudly suggested. 

Squaring Off

The Knoxville couple, whose entrepreneurship and energy contributed to the revitalization of Market Square, will reportedly retain control over their businesses, Earth to Old City, Preservation Pub, Oodles Uncorked and the World Grotto, but their interest in their buildings is subject to federal seizure.

Cost Control?

When the Hardin Valley High School was first proposed, the Public Building Authority took responsibility to oversee the construction company that got the bid. Bigler was supposed to be hired to ride herd on the whole process and make sure it could be brought in under the $40 million Knox County Commission voted for the project.

Lately the PBA has advised the school board the school will have to be downsized or an additional $6 million will have to be found to complete it as planned.

We understand that Bigler, who lives in Texas, lasted two weeks. After key decisions were made early on, and he was informed after the fact, he quit. Knox County Commission voted this week to delay for 30 days a decision on the request for more money for the school.

Midway Middleman?

One of the more persistent rumors is that a middleman stood to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars by flipping the property to the Knox County Development Corp. The rumor got started because the Development Corp. used real estate agents to contact property owners and secure options on the property. Officials say the options are for the Development Corp. to buy the properties directly from the property owners. No middleman involved.

Adding to the confusion is a pre-existing option held by developer Harry Sherrod who already had a plan in the works for the area before the Development Corp. project came along. When the Development Corp. learned Sherrod had options on two parcels, he was contacted and he agreed to sign his options over to the Development Corp. His options were for $16,000 per acre and he got just over $18,000 from the Development Corp. to give them up.

Knox County Commission on Monday ignored the community protest and voted to proceed with the project.

Land Freeze Frozen

The site is one of the largest industrial sites left in the Knoxville metropolitan area, left over from a federal project to build a breeder reactor in the early 1980s. The project was scrapped.

The TVA board put a moratorium on land sales after a public controversy over a TVA land swap to allow a major residential development on Nickajack Lake in Marion County. A task force is working on a recommendation to the board about future TVA land sales.