By Mike Steely

The division continued last week between homeowners in the Parkridge neighborhood who want to extend an existing historic designation to the entire community and those who don’t want the label. The H-1 zoning proposal, which will be discussed in an “Open House” this Friday from 1 until 4 p.m. at the O’Connor Senior Center, drew an overflow crowd at the Parkridge Community Organization (PCO) last week.

The PCO has about 35 dues-paying members but there are more than 500 homeowners in the East Knoxville neighborhood. Jennifer Montgomery chaired the meeting and as the time of the 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Cansler YMCA drew closer, more and more people came, causing additional tables and chairs to be set up and  the overflow standing in the back of the room.

Prior to the meeting members of the organization posted meeting signs throughout their region and even the wording of the signs, designating Park City instead of Parkridge, grew some criticism.

Shortly after the routine business was completed the discussion turned to the PCO’s Facebook and what would and would not be included on that internet page. Given some of the inappropriate or personal attacks posted there during the current H-1 proposal the organization’s board voted to limit entries on the page to dues-paying members. Membership is $10 per year and several attendees wrote checks at the meeting in order to join.

Calvin Chappelle, who said he has moderated the Facebook page, said some comments have left a bad impression of the neighborhood. He suggested three alternatives on how to manage the Facebook page.

Dr. Sally Serahin, a Parkridge resident, spoke against closing off the Facebook page to anyone who isn’t a member and was critical of the PCO board’s policies.

Chappelle suggested two pages, one for the PCO members and one open to the public for comments.

The PCO members present at the meeting voted to keep the Facebook page open but allow someone to monitor the content and possibly remove inappropriate comments.

The issue revolves around a loud resistance to including all the homes in the designated plan in the expansion of the current historic overlay. The majority of those attending the meeting were not current members of the PCO and didn’t vote, although their opinion of leaving the Facebook page open to everyone was accepted.

In other business the members heard that April 1st is a neighborhood clean-up day preceding the April 2nd “Water Stop” for the Covenant Health Marathon. Other events discussed for this year included planning a yard sale, an ice cream social, a home tour, Open Streets, a Halloween home decoration contest and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.