By Mike Steely
The Alice Bell / Spring Hill Neighborhood Association was officially created in 1990 as a grassroots group. Over the years, the group has grown and become officially recognized by the city of Knoxville and has been effective at maintaining positive growth for the area. Known by the abbreviation “ABSHNA” the residential community is very active in neighborhood events and city issues.
The neighborhood is popular for new homeowners looking for moderate priced houses.
Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the New Harvest Community Building. When early voting is going on at New Harvest, meetings are held at Alice Bell Baptist Church on Alice Bell Road. The public is free to join the meetings.
The membership fee is $5 per household per year and when a vote is required, one vote is granted per household.
The board of directors consists of nine individuals elected by the membership. This group serves as a steering committee and brings issues before the entire membership for information, a vote (if required) or for ongoing discussion.
The Alice Bell community is located in the northeast section of the City of Knoxville. It is the area where the former East Town Mall, and the current Amazon Center, were and are located. Alice Bell is the East Center business district of the City of Knoxville. It is a large mix of commercial and residential areas. Commercial businesses include Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot, McDonald’s, Krystal, Sonic, Burger King, O’Charley’s, Cracker Barrel, Applebee’s, Marshalls, Old Navy and many more businesses.
The area west of the commercial district is mostly residential.
“The Spring Hill community is located south of the Alice Bell community. It borders north by Buffat Mill and South by Rutledge Pike. It is mainly a residential area except along Rutledge Pike. The two neighborhood organizations joined together approximately 25 years ago,” ABSHNA President Ronnie Collins told The Focus.
Currently within a half-mile radius of the Amazon Center, there are proposals for over 1,000 new residences, some already under construction.
“When the Alice Bell Neighborhood Association was formed over 30 years ago East Town Mall was here, and Home Depot was being built. All the other businesses have been opened while we have been here,” he said.
“We went through many battles over where development would be built. Most were still opened” Collins said.
“We weren’t against development, just (for)proper planning,” he said.
“We still are very adamant about proper planning. Our city council representative is Lauren Rider, and our county commissioner is Courtney Durrett,” Collins said.