Western Heights may get $4.2 million in improvements

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer


Western Heights is a Knoxville Community Development Corporation complex near Keith and Western avenues. The KCDC housing project underwent renovation in 2019 and features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for low-income residents.

The complex is being updated in Knoxville’s Phase 2 program and the city council may vote tonight to allocate $4.2 million for more improvements. The Housing and Neighborhood Development is making the request.

The council may also vote to give the Beck Cultural Exchange Center $90,000 per year for the next three years for historical preservation, research, education and programming. The council may also vote to add additional one-year extension periods.

Historic Preservation Program Awards may also be approved to support qualifying historic properties within the city. The $247,855 is designated for property improvements.

The police department is asking for the mayor to request a federal grant of $44,000 for bullet-resistant vests. The two-year application would require a 50% match from the city.

Also being requested by the police department is the acceptance of $375,000 from the federal justice department for equipment, supplies, travel and training for the school violence prevention program in county schools. This grant requires a 25% match from the city.

Another grant application request on the agenda is for $3.6 million from the state and federal governments with a 5% city match for community energy efficiency for disadvantaged communities.

The council will also vote on the Capital Improvement Budget, annual appropriations to departments and compensation plans for employees.

Among zoning requests are several requests to increase the number of residential units including allowing residential care facilities as special use in office park zoned areas.

Other increased residential zoning requests have been submitted for properties at Loves Creek, Henson Road, Laurel Avenue, Sevier Avenue, Joe Lewis Road, Beaman Lake Road and Middlebrook Pike.

Non-residential zoning requests are also before the council including a heavy industrial request for Western Avenue, general commercial on North Broadway and neighborhood commercial on Laurel Avenue.