Can Glenn Jacobs build a greenway?

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies, Halls

After an eight-year stall, maybe Mayor Glenn Jacobs can jump-start construction of a greenway connector in Halls. (Hope springs eternal.)

Knox County Commission in January approved a $300,000 consulting contract with Nashville-based GreshamSmith and Partners for a greenway corridor study to “identify priorities and long-range improvements” for four major corridors: Chapman Highway, Northshore Drive, Beaver Creek and a section of John Sevier Highway. The resolution stated the $300,000 was “largely funded by a grant.”

This abandoned bridge near Marco’s Pizza in Halls could be developed for parking for greenway and creek access.

Shauna Godlevsky, planning and development manager for Knox County Parks & Recreation, has set four community meetings for input. Meetings will be in open-house format, each from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, Karns Elementary gym; Thursday, June 6, Northshore Elementary cafeteria; Tuesday, June 11, Halls Elementary gym; and Wednesday, June 12, Bonny Kate Elementary gym.

We’re seeing the downside of term limits with our county greenways. Nobody currently in Knox County government seems to recall previous studies over a 20-year period. So here we go again. Halls residents, for instance, know what they need and what they’ve been promised. That’s a greenway under Maynardville Pike to connect the Halls Community Park and Halls branch library to Clayton Park and the Halls schools.

Great progress was made under the administrations of Tommy Schumpert and Mike Ragsdale. Led by Legacy Parks Foundation, the Halls community raised a half million dollars to buy 12 acres for Clayton Park. Knox County Parks & Rec took 10 years to develop it, and then disregarded the planning by architects at Ross Fowler.

Mayor Jacobs and his new director of Parks & Rec have four years to get this right.

Commissioner Charles Busler secured $20,000 in Mayor Tim Burchett’s last budget for kayak put-ins on Beaver Creek. That money is now at Legacy Parks Foundation, awaiting yet another study.

Hopefully, Carol Evans at Legacy Parks will let GreshamSmith know it’s there.

  • Marshall Stair was predictable. Remember this column from April 25? With Mayor Madeline Rogero calling for a vote on Recode Knoxville on May 14, Stair called for delay. His point of view prevailed. City Council punted until May 30 at least. Stay tuned.
  • Glen Casada should step down as speaker of the Tennessee House. Knoxville’s Bill Dunn is next in line for the speakership, and as he says, the Republicans “have a deep bench.” Casada is way too old to be acting like a frat boy on spring break.
  • Jason Zachary organized the call for a special Republican caucus to discuss Casada’s past, present and future. That meeting is set for Monday, as reported May 15 in the Tennessee Journal, at an undisclosed place, with only caucus members allowed in the room and with phones and recording devices banned. Any vote will be by secret ballot. So much for transparency.

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