Comments by Willers

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Written on Clarence Brown on World's Fair Park? Some Thoughts on One of 2014's Dilemmas:

Summarizing Mr. Neely: Professional theatre needs to be downtown where it can feed off peripheral businesses (like bars and restaurants) and they can feed off it. The Supreme Court site would be an excellent one; that block is over 80,000 sq. ft. and could certainly contain more than just a theatre complex.
However, I'm not able to understand how the academic side of the theatre could exist so far removed from the Humanities area on campus, if that is a goal.

Written on Restaurant Report: Knox Mason:

The existence and success of Knox Mason has made it all too clear that Downtown needs a half dozen more restaurants with the same creative standards, atmosphere, and culinary ability, but in directions other than nouvelle southern. As example, those looking for modern takes on vegetarian and/or vegan cuisine (like Plant in Asheville, for one, or even The Laughing Seed) are apparently still not welcome in Knoxville restaurants. In a nutshell (pardon the pun): more restaurants, less mediocrity, and more balance.

Written on Death to James White Parkway: Stopping it in South Knoxville is Just Half the Job:

in response to 3RunHomer:

Several months ago I made the same suggestion in a letter to the editor that y'all printed. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one tilting at windmills. A San Antonio Riverwalk-style development could be built along First Creek, with the potential to be one of the most distinctive urban spaces in the nation. It's time for the Useless Parkway to Nowhere to be torn down. And get rid of 2 lanes of Neyland highway at the same time, to free up space for riverfront development.

Free First Creek! Free First Creek!
Actually, the traffic lanes to Neyland should be in a tunnel, not the creek. Just think how much surface space would be available for use if the lanes to Neyland were underground.

Written on Death to James White Parkway: Stopping it in South Knoxville is Just Half the Job:

The James White Parkway is probably the worst thing that the state ever foisted off on Knoxville. I'd listen to anyone's ideas on ways to downgrade it to make it more useful.

Oddly, despite than the destruction of the South Knoxville neighborhoods that it bisected, and the creation of those puzzling re-directed street remnants, the two things that JWP could have done--it didn't do. One was a direct, non-stopping connection from the bridge northbound onto Neyland Drive. The other unfulfilled desire was efficient exits into downtown Knoxville proper.

The fact that those things were deliberately and specifically left out indicate that JWP was never intended to serve Knoxville or Knoxvillians. Gee, I wonder why Sevier Countians have the ear of TDOT?

Written on St. John's vs. Downtown: Bad Gardening, or Punk Art? The Demolition of the Walnut Street Buildings:

Although St. John's has resorted to stony and condescending silence to counter their critics, their intentions are no real secret. They want the space occupied by the Walnut buildings to construct a rear covered entrance so that the increasingly elderly congregation (most particularly Big Jim Haslam) won't have to walk 20 feet or use an umbrella when it rains. The Haslam family is the primary funder for the church--without them, the dwindling congregation probably couldn't afford to operate. What's most irritating is that their attitude toward the City is "we're just not going to explain or respond to 'those' people because we don't have to."

Written on Good-Bye, Downtown: A Kimberly-Clark Forget-You-Not From 400 Goodys Lane:

I can't help wondering about KC's decision-making process that would have the company sticking in downtown through the unfortunate years only to pick up and move when all the negative issues are at last being addressed. The sad delusion of the superiority of the vanilla suburban office environment must be a strong one.

When KC established downtown, there was little opportunity for employees to live there. That has changed and is continuing to change in a major way. Since the company had its own garage, I never understood the stated appeal of a weather-exposed surface lot, no matter how close. And, when employees realize that their pleasant walk-to-lunch and after-work options have evaporated, the gray reality of same-old same-old is going to set in. Of course, those that made the moving decision won't care and will never feel or notice the pain--if they are lucky.

Written on Does Downtown Really Need a New Parking Garage?:

I have to agree with Haynes take on this. The issues of downtown parking are FAR more complex than merely building another garage in what some may consider an unused block as a knee jerk reaction to TVA's clambering. And the issues deserve FAR more discussion in more detail than what occurred at the last Council meeting.

At a time when retail life is beginning to expand beyond Gay Street and Market Square, it is absolutely premature, if not foolish, to write off a whole block (as Branscom has unwisely done). There would certainly be nothing wrong with garage parking in that location, but only if it was part of a larger residential/retail complex that adds to the aesthetic of downtown and allows for downtown's growth in that direction.

Written on Corndogs Rossini:

Mr. Neely's take, "Where's the Rossini?", is quite appropriate. However, maybe the question is really a paraphrase of Mayor Shinn in MUSIC MAN, "Where's the band? Where's the band?" In this case, "Where's the music?"

Since UT Opera has pulled out of participation in the festival and withdrawn to its own barn on the campus, we seem to be left with Knoxville Opera's main production (always a treat), and a spectacular and enthusiastic street fair. Most would agree, however, that that is hardly a festival, but more like a couple of events joined loosely at the hip. Although Knoxville Opera clearly has its hands full with those given its resources, perhaps it's time for the company to find other participants who could add events to the festival, possibly through booking notable classical music performers or orchestras for new events that do not conflict with what already exists, either in time or venue. A program of Rossini overtures anyone? A notable chamber ensemble? A flock of tenors? Or not, and content ourselves with a couple of arias and a corndog.

Written on Chasing After the Royal Bangs, the Most Promising Knoxville Band of the 21st Century:

A lot of comments on this story seem to be deliberately partisan. I found the article really interesting given the reputation the band has for being good, but very self-destructive. Perceptive writers pick up on those things. Frankly, there are enough 'tudes in the music business without some up-and-coming band losing sight of what is important.

Written on It’s Time to Revisit Knoxville's Trolley Routes:

I agree completely that the trolley routes need to be re-designed.

To be honest, lengthy distances downtown are ones of perception rather than reality. Nevertheless, Summit Hill Drive and the open space in the 200 block of Gay act as a perceived barrier between Gay Street and the 100 block of Gay/Old City making the walk seem longer. It makes total sense that an obvious and well-advertised trolley route down Gay Street and back would serve to not only accommodate current walkers but also to encourage new movement between the areas.

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