Winners honored in festive Neighborhood Awards Dinner

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

The recent 2023 Neighborhood Awards Dinner was a festive and well attended celebration of community leaders. Presented by the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment, the event was held at The Brookside on North Central and attendees included Knoxville city officials, nominees for various awards, and those citizens who suggested recipients of honors.

Neighborhood Coordinators Debbie Sharp and Courtney Durrett opened the celebration with Mayor Indya Kincannon welcoming the crowd. Other portions of the event included Emma Ellis-Cosigua, Monty Howard, Brent Waugh and Evan Mays who sppke and presented the nominees. Prior to the Covid pandemic the awards were a part of the annual Neighborhood Conference. This year a Neighborhood Resource Fair will be an occasion for neighbors, venders, networking and food and will be held on August 12th.

Achievement awards were presented to neighborhood associations for outstanding service to the communities.

The neighborhood association winners were the Forest Heights Neighborhood Association, Historic Fourth and Gill, Parkridge, Timbercrest and West Hills, and Western Heights.

Officer Seth Blaine, liaison officer in the Fourth and Gill Neighborhood, was recognized as Liaison Officer of the Year. Two other officers were honored with a nomination and included Adam Barnett of the South Haven neighborhood and Donald Mullins, nominated by the Chilhowee Park Association.

The winner of the 2022 Wiffleball Tournament, the Westwood Neighborhood Association, was recognized and honored. Six teams competed and now a kickball tournament is planned.

Westwood and West Hills neighborhoods were recognized for their participation in the Healthy Knoxville Program for sustainable changes to live healthier lives. The categories included physical activity in outdoor spaces, nutrition and health food access, tobacco and vaping cessation and mental health and wellness.

The Diana Conn Good Neighbor of the Year Award went to Eric Johnson, president of the Vestal Community Association. Nominees for the award included Amy Hathaway of Forest Heights, Jeff Johnson of Fourth and Gill, Margaret Olsson of Old North Knoxville, and the late Mae Moody of Norwood.