Jacobs talks roads, parks and federal aid

Sandra ClarkPowell

It’s easy to cover Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs because he speaks clearly and in sound bites. There’s none of the aw-shucks banter of Tim Burchett or the shyster smoothness of Mike Ragsdale. Here’s what Jacobs said Tuesday at the PBPA meeting at Jubilee Banquet Facility:

Emory Road at I-75: Design is underway with construction to start in 2022 and completion expected in late 2023. This is a diverging diamond design similar to Exit 407 in Sevier County. Earlier story here.

Roundabout at Brickyard and Beaver Creek: Grading underway; hopes to have installed in two months.

$92.3 million coming to Knox County from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March 2021. The money is coming in two parts, some is already here, but without final guidelines on spending it. “We’ve only got interim final guidelines.”

St. Mary’s Women’s Pavilion: He’s talking with the city about buying it for use as an alternative to jail for inmates with mental health issues.

Beaver Creek: Knox County is removing debris in the creek to create, at 41 miles, “the longest water trail in the southeast.”

Homelessness: Knox County has two case workers who work exclusively with homeless people. “There’s no silver bullet; major contributors are substance abuse and mental health.”

Term limits: Jacobs said four states (of 34 needed) have passed a resolution to call for a constitutional convention to discuss term limits for members of Congress. He wants Tennessee to be the fifth state. “Congress is broken and this is a start to fix it.”

Priority: “My priority is to promote good jobs, and our challenges are where to put the businesses and where to put the people.” Land is needed for businesses and homes. Also, he’s working with the Knox Education Foundation to create “next generation learning” in area schools – to bring businesses into schools. And he’s working with trade groups to beef up Career and Technical Education opportunities for those for whom a four-year college is not the best choice.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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