South Haven is proud and growing

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

South Haven is as unique as any Knoxville neighborhood with a wide variety of people, incomes, homes and religious backgrounds and lots of pride in their part of the city.

The South Knox neighborhood is roughly bound by Island Home Avenue, the Tennessee River, James White Parkway, Gilbert Lane and Sevierville Pike.

Gayle Atherton, president of the South Haven Neighborhood Association, told The Focus the group was anticipating the opening of 71 South, which is now open, and a concert and event center underway at the former Baker Creek Church. She also said that the Knoxville Urban Wilderness Gateway and Greenway may spur even more interest in their neighborhood.

South Haven has the popular Round Up Restaurant, SoKno Taco, and Handy Dandy that draw other Knoxville residents to the area. The Urban Wilderness, Baker Creek Bottoms and the popular Maynard Glen Ball Park are attractions as well.

The South Haven Neighborhood Association, also known as SHNA, meets monthly on the third Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Hillcrest Methodist Church at 1615 Price Avenue. Atherton says the group has been active in the development and transformation of the former Giffin Elementary School to become senior housing. SHNA is also working to get sidewalks on South Haven and Sevier Avenue. One of the future projects is to create a uniquely designed bus stop and shelter for bus riders and school kids.

SHNA’s major event is the National Night Out celebration and different locations within the neighborhood grill out hot dogs and hamburgers. Last year more than 250 people attended. The organization has taken Dogwood Elementary Community School’s second grade under its wing, raising funds to provide supplies for the students.

“I want to mention that we have been actively looking for South Haven History and connections to the Knox History Project,” Atherton said. She noted that the neighborhood is a good place for anyone seeking affordable homes and proximity to downtown.

“We’re building relationships face to face and through a variety of activities and ways to get involved,” she said, adding, “While the neighborhood is working through growing pains we’re seeking to empower our members to take ownership of their concerns and work together to resolve them.”

Knoxville City Council member Tommy Smith and Knox County Commissioner Carson Dailey represent the neighborhood and usually attend the neighborhood association meetings.

More information about the South Haven neighborhood is available online on Facebook.