Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett pledged the county’s support for the signature project of the Halls Business & Professional Association when he spoke to the group’s lunch meeting June 20 at Beaver Brook Country Club.
“Street lights will be installed within 180 days” on Maynardville Highway from Afton Drive to Emory Road, he said. The county estimates 10 lights will be needed. A delegation of BPA members led by president Michelle Wilson had met with Burchett earlier in the budget process to request funding for street lights. The state Department of Transportation did not include lighting or landscaping in the project.
Captain Robert Hubbs of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is vice president of the Halls BPA. “This is needed for safety,” he said, recalling an officer who was hit by a car while directing traffic during an evening Christmas Parade about four years ago.
In response to a question, Burchett also promised $2,500 toward landscaping. The BPA is sponsoring competition for landscaping along the commercial strip.
Lights and landscaping are initiatives of the Halls Ahead campaign of the BPA to boost retail businesses on Maynardville Highway after a 3-year TDOT construction project.
Burchett said the county has paid down debt and increased funding to schools and law enforcement without a tax increase or forced layoffs during his terms as mayor.
He voiced support for a BMX track at South-Doyle Middle School, saying it will be open to the public and will “bring in a high class clientele” for tournaments.
He said the county will resurface 35-40 miles of roads this year. Extension of Schaad Road is underway.