Knox County pushes Halls project

Sandra ClarkHalls, Let's Talk

Knox County is seeking a $950,000 state grant to continue work to connect the greenway system in Halls. The county’s match would be $50,000 and future upkeep. The full proposal is here: TDOT_Halls Greenway_Notice_of_Intent_to_Apply

Kristin Grove, director of property development for the Knoxville-Knox County Public Building Authority, coordinated the application, a 2020-21 multimodal access grant through the state Department of Transportation. Cannon & Cannon did the engineering. And Keith Kirkland is construction manager for PBA. Read our previous stories here and here.

According to the proposal, the project would connect three “isolated multi-use paths and two orphaned sidewalks.

“It bridges the gap between at least three residential areas and the local elementary, middle and high schools. … It fills the major gap in the local bike/ped transportation network with connections to the library, parks, multiple retail centers, grocery stores, churches and restaurants.

“Homes less than 1/3-mile from the three Halls schools can’t reach them without a more than one-mile car ride to cross SR 33. Homes less than 1/4-mile from a grocery store have to drive to get across these state routes to the store.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has endorsed the project.

The state requested phases for the proposal and Knox County complied:

Phase A – Clayton Park Greenway & West Halls Greenway to Afton Drive. Project would start in Clayton Park where greenway is currently stubbed and extend to Norris Freeway to Maynardville Hwy. to Afton Drive. The old bridge on Hwy. 33 (near Marco’s Pizza) would be used to get pedestrians and bikes across Beaver Creek. In conversation Thursday, Kirkland said, “It’s paved, it’s flat and it’s county-owned.”

Phase B will build a greenway connector under the bridge on Maynardville Pike

Phase B – Afton Drive to East Halls Greenway. Project extends greenway under Maynardville Pike alongside Beaver Creek, using the new state Hwy. 33 bridge as an underpass to connect to the East Halls Greenway near Food City. Kirkland said space is available – the new road was designed with this project in mind.

Phase C – Sidewalks from Afton Dr. south on SR 33 to existing sidewalk (about 1,500 feet)

Phase D – Sidewalks along Andersonville Pike from E. Halls Greenway to existing sidewalks east of SR 33 (about 600 feet)

Commissioner Charles Busler, who represents District 7, voiced strong support. “I believe in greenways and blueways (the Beaver Creek project). We’ve got to save some land for future generations.” Busler previously served on the board of directors for Legacy Parks Foundation, which coordinated fundraising to purchase land for Clayton Park and currently is developing the Collier Preserve on Emory Road near the Powell Branch Library.

At-large Commissioner Justin Biggs has advocated the sidewalk connections.

A 2018 estimate projected that Phases A & B could be completed for approximately $1 million.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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