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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.
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Since UT Opera has pulled out of participation in the festival and withdrawn to its own barn on the campus, we seem to be left with Knoxville Opera's main production (always a treat), and a spectacular and enthusiastic street fair.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.
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.
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.