What was once a dark and dangerous location has now become much safer and brighter! With a lot of dedicated work by the community, the Public Building Authority and the ongoing journalistic efforts of the Knoxville Focus multiple improvements have been made! When we first took on the project back in January after hearing many citizen complaints, we at the Focus started investigating. With the help of 311 Manager Russ Jensen, we were able to get the lights turned on in front of the Convention Center. http://24×7.https://www.knoxfocus.com/2013/01/18/city-and-pba-pitch-in-to-reestablish-sunsphere-as-local-icon/ Since then we have followed and have kept a close eye on the many changes to the Sunsphere. When we noticed the new lights were on during the day http://24×7.https://www.knoxfocus.com/2013/08/02/shining-light-on-the-sunsphere/ we investigated and got results http://24×7.https://www.knoxfocus.com/2013/08/21/sunsphere-lighting-situation-fixed/ When we noticed the many great things happening at the Sunsphere, we wrote about it http://24×7.https://www.knoxfocus.com/2013/05/25/shine-brighter-the-sunsphere-and-the-many-positive-changes/
As a reporter and I am proud to update our readers on the latest upgrade to the Sunsphere. We at the Focus met with the PBA (the organization that manages the Sunsphere) chief Dale Smith recently and expressed concern about why the Sunsphere didn’t have lights on the south side of the 3rd floor observation deck. We noted that the location had a junction box (a location where you connect wires to a fixture.) Mr. Smith, immediately went into action. He had his team investigate the situation and immediately determined that the junction box was in good working condition and that the project would not be complicated. Earlier today I walked by the Sunsphere and to my surprise I saw 2 new high intensity LED lights installed on the south side! Well, I waited till 6pm when the lights went on and I saw that the lights do indeed work and the 3rd floor observation deck looks much brighter (see photos above)! It should be noted that while the lighting is not currently “color balanced” (all one color) future plans are being developed to address that issue. The important thing was getting the lighting on the south side.
Furthermore, I am proud to report that the crosswalk near the Sunsphere, in between the Holiday Inn and the Knoxville Convention Center has been repainted! We at the Focus had recently brought the unsafe situation up to management at the KCC and they told us that they would place a request in to the city to get it fixed. The painted crosswalk which was nearly worn out on Tuesday, now looks brand new.
So where do we go from here… Right now we at the Focus are monitoring a couple of situations. We have spoken with City officials involving the broken crosswalk sign in front of the Crowne Plaza. As a result of our conversation the City has removed the sign from the middle island. They have informed us that a replacement crosswalk sign is on the list.
Finally, I can report tonight that multiple government officials, private organizations, and people have expressed to me an interest in possibly updating the 4th floor of the Sunsphere. That floor is open to the public and a major tourist attraction. The displays are currently outdated with pictures from 2004. I must stress at this time nothing official has been talked about. What has occurred is a strong ongoing dialog with members of the community and government officials to see if a strong enough interest is in the community to actually start the official process. We at the Knoxville Focus will keep you updated with the latest.
Daan Andrews reporting