Roberto, McKenzie boost Sutherland eateries

Sandra ClarkWest Knox

Knoxville City Council members Andrew Roberto and Gwen McKenzie have partnered on a series of mob lunches to boost businesses along Sutherland Avenue while Hollywood Road is closed.

“The closure will last for several months as improvements to Hollywood Road get underway and as the Flats at Pond Gap, an affordable workforce housing development, is built,” said Roberto.

“During the consideration of this (housing) project by city council, the neighborhood expressed legitimate concerns about traffic safety and potential flooding. In order to address those concerns, Hollywood Road will be raised to improve line of sight for drivers, 1,000 feet of new or replacement sidewalks will be installed, a crosswalk will be installed to improve walkability, and critical steps will be taken to address localized flooding in the area. The road improvements and addition of 102 units of affordable workforce housing will be beneficial in the long term, but we are working to minimize any potential impact on local businesses along Sutherland during construction.”

The first lunch mob, held Nov. 21 at El Charro, was well-attended with guests including Mayor Madeline Rogero, mayor-elect Indya Kincannon and former mayors Victor Ashe and Daniel Brown.

The council members plan their next lunch mob for Monday, Dec. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. at Dead End BBQ, 3621 Sutherland Ave. Everyone is invited to the Dutch-treat meal.

Noting that Nov. 30 is Small Business Saturday, Roberto urged residents to show support for local businesses. “Sixty-seven cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays in our local community.”

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of


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