Apr 25 2019

TDOT is holding a community outreach meeting to learn more about the Alcoa Highway Improvements project, specifically the section from Hall Road (Alcoa Hwy/129/Bypass split) to the airport interchange (Tyson Blvd) in Blount County.

What: Alcoa Highway Improvements

When Today, April 25, 2019
5 PM to 7 PM

Where: City of Alcoa Service Center
725 Universal Street, Alcoa TN 37701

The Alcoa Service Center at 725 Universal Street is the only thing on Universal Street. It is located off of Wright Road. From Hunt Road, you can take Wright Road to the stop sign, turn left, then an immediate right. You can also come from Springbrook Road, where at the intersection (four way stop signs), go west away from Hall Road then Universal will be on the right.

All but one of 20 county commissioners at a commission workshop do not want the proposed Tennessee state law "that would allow courts and police officers to restrict guns from people deemed an extreme risk." "Under the bill, courts could be petitioned to issue an “extreme risk protection order” against an individual, prohibiting them from purchasing, possessing, or being in control of firearms or ammunition." "The petition can be filed by law enforcement officers or by those with a close relationship to the respondent, and must demonstrate evidence that the respondent poses a “significant risk” to themselves or others by possessing a firearm."

The Blount County resolution filed by Commissioners Steve Mikels and Nick Bright declares that commissioners “each took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution and the laws which are not deemed unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I'm thinking the "insure domestic Tranquility, Promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty" parts should allow us to "restrict guns from people deemed an extreme risk where evidence can be demonstrated that the respondent poses a “significant risk” to themselves or others by possessing a firearm."

Many thanks to the sole county commissioner voting against this resolution. We appreciate your concern for our safety.

But, whatever. It is a sad state of affairs.

Apr 16 2019

Blount County sent out the 2019 Property Assessment change notices.

The Blount County Property assessor's office is allowing property owners three days (4/15/2019 to 4/18/2019) to discuss the new values by calling the office (865-273-5879).

We received our notice on 4/15/2019 around 4 PM, thus we only have two days to contact the property assessor's office.

There are approximately 50,000 property owners in Blount County. It's a good thing most property owners will probably not call the property assessor's office since in the assigned time frame that would be 1,851 callers per hour.

What the heck is going on?

Our property increased by 20% since the last county appraisal 5 years ago. I don't think the increases can be sustained, but who knows.

Apr 10 2019

Blount County is looking into purchasing a glass mill machine that will produce sand from recycled glass. The sand "is smooth enough to dip a hand into without getting cut"

The sand "could be used to partially fill county demand for gravel, and eventually even generate revenue."

[County Mayor Ed] "Mitchell said glass is “probably the largest” contributor to volume in the landfill."

"The department has been taking notes from Cumberland County, which currently hosts a glass recycling mill."

Pretty cool. Seems like a great idea.

Mar 26 2019

Rumor is the Pine Lakes Golf Course will be closing at the end of March, 2019.

Pine Lakes was built in 1971. Nearly 50 years later the course is being closed to make way for an unnecessary road.

Alas, more unneeded pavement. What are you gonna do?

Mar 20 2019

TDOT is currently doing road work around the Alcoa Hwy., Hunt Road, and Hall Road interchange. I requested a map of the changes from TDOT. Here is what I received. The notations with green arrows are my additions to better identify some of the changes.

Click image for bigger.

Temporary lane closures -

BLOUNT COUNTY, US 129 North and South between SR 35 Hall Road and Tyson Boulevard:

On Monday, March 18, 2019 through Friday, March 22, 2019,

motorists should be alert for brief traffic stops to occur at various times between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 crews perform tree removal in this area. Motorists should expect potential delays, be alert for stopped traffic and use extreme caution through this roadway construction project.

Feb 8 2019

Bloomberg: The company will separate into one company focused on parts making and another on the production of aluminum sheets, Arconic said Friday in a statement as it reported fourth-quarter earnings. One of the units will be spun off, and Arconic will consider a sale of any operations that don’t fit into either of the businesses.

The company also cut their dividend by two-thirds. The rolled sheet business presumably includes the plant in Alcoa. And they only recently finished changing their iconic tower sign after splitting off from Alcoa.

Jan 31 2019

The [Blount County] Election Commission is in the process of replacing the county’s voting machines in time for the 2020 elections.

Blount County Democratic Party officers made a push at the Blount County Election Commission meeting Wednesday for the county to switch to a voting system with a paper trail.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Garner said after the meeting Wednesday that the cost would be a “big” factor in deciding what voting systems to evaluate.

The commission has put roughly $1.2 million toward the purchase of new machines.

Tennessee is among the 13 states that are either completely or partially paperless.

Sevier County switched to paper ballots shortly before the November 2016 election. “It’s slightly more expensive,” [Sevier County Elections Administrator Ed Kuncitis] said, but adding that because the blank ballot stock is generic, and unused ones can be carried over to the next election, the cost is not as much as he anticipated.

We can only hope the Blount County Election Commission makes the right choice and selects machines with a paper ballot.

Dec 1 2018

Once known as Wallace Hills Golf Course, before any residential development, Royal Oaks was developed in 1993 with a new 27 hole golf course and housing. After years of struggle, the Royal Oaks Golf Course is closing.

Knoxville-based Alley Realty and Auction has been hired "to sell the golf course and its assets, which include the events center." This sale opens up 120 acres for some sort of development. "There are approximately 500 homes in the Royal Oaks subdivision now. Alley estimated that anywhere from 400-600 homes could be added." It is being reported that someone is "interested in converting the land to a nine-hole golf course while maintaining the prime real estate for residential homes."

The Royal Oaks Golf Course is/was an 18 hole par 72 public course. There are several public golf courses in Blount County. The two that seem to have the most problems, Royal Oaks and Laurel Valley, included residential housing amidst the golf course.

We lived in the Royal Oaks community for three years in the early 2000's. I cannot imagine how I would feel if we had purchased a house there on the golf course to eventually no longer have a golf course in the back yard. It happens. I hope they carefully consider the existing residents when making such massive changes.

Nov 24 2018

It’s time for the downtown Maryville Holiday Craft Market!

For the 3rd year, Downtown Maryville will be celebrating Small Business Saturday by hosting a Holiday Marketplace filled with local business and local/regional makers.

Over 60 Vendors signed up so far and Main Street (Broadway) in downtown will be closed.

Barley's will be open for breakfast from 9 AM to 11 AM, then lunch/dinner as usual.

10 AM to 3 PM, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Nov 7 2018

Julie Rochelle, incumbent, retains her seat on the Alcoa City School Board. Brandy Bledsoe is a newcomer and won the second seat on the Alcoa City School Board. Congrats to both.

Still waiting on final results for Alcoa City Commission. Current commissioner and mayor, Don Mull, has a one vote lead over newcomer Tanya Martin. Absentee ballots are still being counted. Vaughn Belcher and Clint Abbott Jr., both incumbents are ahead with 1,927 and 2,009 votes.

Update: Tanya Martin wins by 5 votes. Congrats Ms. Martin.

Oct 22 2018

Saw a gentleman riding up on a horse to go to the liquor store in the Rockford area of Blount County. A beautiful, sweet horse he is.

Oct 17 2018

Early voting starts today for the Nov. 6th mid-term elections.

Here are the Blount Co. times and locations.

Here is the Blount Co. sample ballot.

Remember to bring an approved, government issued photo ID. Here are the acceptable forms of photo ID.

Oct. 30th is the last day to request an absentee ballot. Note that anyone age 60 or over can vote absentee, no other reason needed. Here's the Blount Co. absentee ballot request form.

Here are the Democrats running for office:

Jay Clark is running for State House District 8. (Facebook, website, donate)
Susan Sneed is running for State House District 20. (Facebook, website, donate)
Renee Hoyos is running for U.S. House of Representatives District 2. (Facebook, website, donate)
Karl Dean is running for governor. (Facebook, website, donate)
Phil Bredesen is running for U.S. Senate. (Facebook, website, donate)

A little history on the development of the old Alcoa West Plant site, in descending date order.

October 3, 2018
'Agrihood' Springbrook Farm will offer food-centric lifestyle in Alcoa

September 29, 2017
'Impressive': citizens react to long-awaited plan for former West Plant site

April 11, 2017
'A long time coming:' Alcoa finally breaks ground on former West Plant site
“Let’s build a downtown!”

September 16, 2014
Alcoa gets Sam’s Club: Big-box retailer plans store at Alcoa Highway-Hunt Road
Didn't happen.

August 31, 2013
City of Alcoa's plan to "build a Turkey Creek-type retail complex as Phase I in the ALCOA West Plant site."

April 27, 2012
Alcoa West Plant project open house - Day two
City of Alcoa presents information on the proposed Alcoa West Plant redevelopment.

March 15, 2012
Clearing a decades old pine tree barrier alongside the Alcoa Hwy to make way for Alcoa city center.
According to various fuzzy news reports, they apparently suggested that removing the tree barrier would make the property more visible and thus more marketable.

May 20, 2008
Developer announces "Downtown Alcoa"
"In the next six to nine months we should be in a position to begin development," said Jon Kinsey, former Chattanooga mayor and president of Kinsey, Probasco, Hays. "It is right at the entrance to the Knoxville airport and it is surrounded by two significant highways, so we feel it is an opportunity to really do something world class for that area and provide a new downtown for the city of Alcoa, which does not have one presently."

Bad timing I suppose in that there was a major Recession starting in 2008.

How much longer will it take for this development to happen? Will it happen?

Take a look at Northshore Town Center, which appears to be something they are looking to replicate in Alcoa. It took a very long time to get that project going.

Then there's the Pellissippi Place R&D business park. Prior to 2008, this was an enormous project with large investments by Knox County, Blount County, and the City of Alcoa. There were plans for a riverwalk, fountain, residential, and commercial development. Ten years later, after government spending on roads and infrastructure, there is a single business in the back of the development. Pretty good looking entrance though.

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