By Mike Steely
Last week Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon took a walk in the Vestal Community as part of her “Mayor’s Night Out” series. She started in at 6 p.m. in the Vestal Gateway Park and walked to the Mary Vestal Park Pavilion.
Eric Johnson, president of the Vestal Community Organization, accompanied Mayor Kincannon and hosted the event. The mayor brought much of her staff and department heads, including Police Chief Eve Thomas, Fire Chief Stan Sharp and Parks Director Sheryl Ely. Johnson posted video of the event online.
When the group reached Mary Vestal Park the mayor addressed the crowd briefly and took questions from Vestal residents.
“Public Safety is our number one priority,” the mayor said in reply to one of the questions.
Another question was about the lack of a restroom in the park. An existing restroom there was removed during renovation and a temporary outhouse placed there, but that was also removed. Kincannon promised to look into the information and cost of a facility.
Asked about the number of unvaccinated homeless people in Vestal, the mayor said the city is working with the Knox County Health Department to reach those people and take water and snacks.
She mentioned Vestal’s history of marble and lumber production and was asked to look into the status of the abandoned complex next to the Candora Marble Museum.
Johnson told the crowd the community has received 20 trees to be planted and the mayor spoke of the recently dedicated trail linking Vestal to Fort Dickerson, saying that residents can use the trail to the quarry and on to downtown.
She was also asked about traffic calming efforts along the Vestal streets that had halted during the pandemic and she urged citizens to apply for the program. Asked about city walking trails she urged people to use the KGIS maps available on the city’s website.