Homeless Plan Complicates Marilyn Roddy's Run for Mayor

Council member Marilyn Roddy has begun the traditional round of lunches with opinion-makers to discuss her plans to run for office. Roddy has her eye on the Knoxville mayor's office after Bill Haslam. She's from the Bearden/Sequoyah Hills/Lyons View neighborhood, considered a good base from which to run for the office—Haslam and former Mayor Victor Ashe live there.

But running from the area may be a bit more complicated this time around. Jon Lawler heads the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and the Lawler family is influential in local politics and in Roddy's neighborhood. But a lot of Bearden-area residents are white hot about a proposal to put long-term housing for the homeless on Lakeshore Park property, on Lyons View.

At present, City Council has sent MPC a proposal to rezone all city parks to prevent residential housing. This effort was led by City Council newcomer Duane Grieve, who also represents the area and is making a lot of friends in the neighborhood. Roddy has supported the Ten-Year Plan overall. It may be the defining issue in the next mayor's race.

The plan calls for units of permanent housing for the homeless scattered around the city. The first such project is the renovation of Flenniken School in South Knoxville. This has led to a petition drive to stop the Flenniken project and the overall housing plan.