By Mike Steely
The elderly and handicapped residents of Summit Towers downtown are getting closer to having an accessible route to catch city buses. The City Council approved $ 100,000 to acquire property between the apartments and Summit Hill Drive for Knoxville Area Transit’s Stop Project there.
Residents have been inconvenienced for some time after KAT stopped its 15 minute trolley service to the towers and replaced it with a stop there once an hour. Director of Engineering Jim Hagerman said that the pathways down to the street will be ADA compliant and have lighting.
Hagerman said that after the property is purchased bids will be sought and the project should be completed in February or March.
The council also voted to take over 29,000 street lights from KUB on a request from the Office of Sustainability. Acquiring the lighting and maintaining the system will be the city’s responsibility and is projected to save money. It’s the second piece of a $17.5 million project that includes changing to LED lighting.
More than $55,000 was added to the city’s contract with Cannon & Cannon for the First Creek Greenway Project and $73,495 was allotted for construction of part of the Western Avenue pedestrian bridge.
The council also voted to bring the financial disclosure laws of candidates in line with state regulations, eliminating weekly reporting and now requiring monthly reports. They also expressed support for Mayor Madeline Rogero’s appointments to the Neighborhood Advisory Council. Newly named to that group are Rob Glass, Matt McMillan, Molly Conaway, Derek Tate and Emma Ellis-Cosigua. Re-appointed were Jennifer Reynolds and Ann White.
Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) was authorized to operate public, educational and government cable channels for the city.
Bearden Council’s Terry Faulkner was recognized for her many years of service to Knoxville. Vice Mayor Duane Grieve led the tribute. Faulkner spoke briefly thanking the council and Grieve, her 2nd District representative, and hinting that she hopes he pursues other office after leaving council.
“I hope you will accept a different political office in the future,” Faulkner said. Grieve has indicated he may run for city mayor as has Councilman George Wallace and possibly Councilman Marshall Stair.
The Tuesday meeting was the final session for five of the council and each was honored for their unique contributions. Each received a plaque that included their name plates used in previous meetings.
Total Wine Spirits Beer and More was granted a certificate of compliance to operate a beverage store in the city. The matter was pulled from the automatic approval consent list after some concerns about the national chain’s pricing. The owner of the 173 stores in 21 states appeared before the council and said the company’s main policy is not to sell to minors. Councilman Wallace asked the city attorney if the residency requirement to own a liquor store still applies locally. Charles Swanson said that the courts have ruled that “residency” violates a commercial clause and that it cannot be enforced.
Another concern about Total Wine was that their pricing drives other stores out of business but Robert Shaffer, chief legal officer of the company, said the company buys by volume and has never been found to engage in predatory pricing.