Funding for supportive housing and bus corridor approved

By Mike Steely
Senior Writer
The City of Knoxville has authorized $1.5 million for the creation of 50 housing units for low-income senior households. The city council approved a revised loan at their January 23 meeting to Bell Street 2 L.P. for the proposed units at 245 South Bell Street.
With some 3,000 people on a waiting list for housing, Tom Ruggles of the Tenants Union told the council the group was “cautiously in favor” of the action, noting the proposed rent would only be about $765 per month.
The project will take about 18 months to construct and will feature on-site case management. Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie said the effort to provide more homes is “headed in the right direction.” Councilwoman Lauren Rider questioned who would handle applications for the apartments.
The Housing and Neighborhood Development Department requested the funding for the permanent supportive housing units.
In other action, the council voted to side with the Oak Knoll Homeowners Association and attorney Daniel A. Sanders in approving the appeal of a Board of Zoning Appeals decision. In dispute was a frontage change for 5660 Lyons View Pike.
The Broadway Accelerated Bus Corridor Project was given $1.3 million for engineering services from WSP USA Inc. Mayor Indya Kincannon said the final project would greatly improve traffic flow, change 36 traffic lights, install new bus stops and give priority to public transit. The project is expected to be completed in 2027 and will feature “smart” traffic signals programmed with city buses.
Larry M. “Mike” Patty was hired as the part-time police wellness coordinator funded by a federal grant. Patty will oversee existing wellness programs at a salary of $50,000 over a two-year term.
The Kentucky Oil Refining Company was contracted by the council to provide fuel for city vehicles and equipment managed by Fleet Services. The $4 million contract will, according to Mayor Kincannon, save the city about 30 cents per gallon compared to standard fuel costs.