Dec 19 2017

On one of my regular walks at Springbrook Park the other day I noticed scarves tied to trees. There was a message attached to the scarves, "I am not lost ... If you are stuck out in the cold please take what you need to keep warm."

I had no idea who provided the scarves, but what a great idea.

The local newspaper, Maryville Daily Times, figured it out. The scarf angels also tied scarves, hats, and gloves to trees in downtown Maryville.

Credit for this special Christmas offering goes to April Armstrong Hoard, a para-professional who works with special-needs children at Alcoa Elementary School. In this effort, she shares accolades with her 7-year-old daughter Claire, a first-grader at AES; her husband Dallas, a 911 dispatcher; and all the people at AES who contributed knitted goods for the effort.
About 100 items were donated to be offered not just to the homeless but to anyone who needed a scarf or other knitted item to keep warm.

What a kind gesture.


As reported in the Maryville Daily Times.

Safety issues are a concern. Townsend has an all volunteer fire department, "which is responsible for rescuing tubers who are under distress on Little River." The department has handled more than 50 rescues in one season. A couple of years ago they had 11 rescures in 30 minutes. Suggestions to help alleviate the problems include requiring life jackets, not allowing tubing when the water is too high or too low, and requiring a specific size of tube.

Then there are the cost for "patrolling, rescuing and helping the tubers." "The City of Townsend charges $100 per calendar year for a permit that is required of any individual or entity operating a tube-related business within the city limits." Citizens with property along Little River are worried about the liability when a tuber gets hurt on their private property

Townsend property owners were hoping environmental concerns would give the city and county a foothold to regulate commercial tubing on Little River. A TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Water Resources) representative said that "baseline data "for years" shows that Little River is still at acceptable levels for recreational use standards for pathogens."

Citizens at the workshop worried about the health of Little River and described changes they have seen in the water. The citizens commented on thousands of tubers going to the bathroom in Little River in addition to all the suntan lotions being washed into the river. There were complaints about the disturbances of the sediment by the tubers. Late in the day you cannot see the bottom of the river. Then there are the people moving rocks to create flumes for tubers. TDEC tried to address this problem in 2008, but have found it hard to enforce since they have to see the activity themselves.

The large presence of tubers negatively affects fishing. "You can’t fly fish, said one resident. "I’ve hooked tubers before, and I’ve been told I’m a horrible person for standing on my own property and fishing."

Then there are the abandoned tubes along the river. Property owners don't want the tubing companies on their property retrieving tubes, nor do they want to go out of their way to return them to the companies. What do they do? Shove them back in the water for the next property owner to handle?

These problems may sound small and petty if you address each individually. But, if you look at the big picture tubing on Little River in Townsend is a growing issue and should be addressed. Maybe someone should build a fake river somewhere close by (like a theme park) and remove tubing from Little River completely. Just a thought.

Oct 3 2017

For the 2nd or 3rd time, it has been announced that the old ALCOA West Plant will be developed as a City of Alcoa town center with a mixed-use design including retail, office, and residential.

A concern with this site is that it is classified as a brownfield, the site has a limited number of known environmental constraints affecting development placement.

It is not easily determined by a mere citizen what areas of the site are contaminated.

I received a report from a resident that went to the most recent meeting. Indications are that the contaminated areas will be covered so that the sites are not disturbed and will not be hazardous.

My concern is I would like to know what areas are contaminated so that I do not go to those areas. More specifically, I would hope that they will not build on those sites. Protections can fail.

For example, in May, 2017, it was reported by the Maryville Daily Times, the Alcoa High School baseball field was placed on an old parking lot for ALCOA Inc.’s fabrication plant. "Under the warranty deed for the property, the school district could not remove the parking surface because of possible contamination on the site and instead covered it with 12 to 15 inches of fill dirt." The fix has failed and created a swamp and an unusable ball field. "Alcoa City Schools will need permission from both the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Arconic Inc. (previously ALCOA)" to fix the problem.

We can only hope these contamination problems can be remediated so that problems don't cause problems in the future or reappear.

Oct 1 2017

As of 2010, according to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 4,175 housing units in Alcoa, TN. The proposed Springbrook Farm mixed-use development at the old ALCOA West Plant could add 1,183 new housing units (980 multi-family units, 110 townhouse units, and 93 single family homes). That's an approximate 28% increase in housing units.

In 2016, before there was a projection on new housing units for the ALCOA West Plant, Alcoa Director of Schools Brian Bell said it will be hard to predict the growth for Alcoa City Schools. Alcoa Schools have reached an all-time enrollment high. Alcoa schools had 1,978 students in 2016. This month, Dr. Bell said he will be requesting "a long-range study of the capacity and enrollment of the intermediate school." It is possible the intermediate school could be "bursting at the seams" in 3-4 years. "Tuition students comprise 20 percent of enrollment" at City of Alcoa schools.

More recently, "the Alcoa school board voted Tuesday to delay spending half-a-million dollars to fix structural problems at the intermediate school and instead spend $300,000 to prepare plans for expanding that school, adding a track and soccer complex, and building a new football field house." The school board had voted to make these repairs in July. "I have a problem with not fixing the intermediate school," School Board Member Clayton Bledsoe said, raising the possibility that the structural engineer could determine the building has become unsafe." He also proposed "to fund only the design work for the intermediate school expansion and repairs and not the athletic projects," These projects have been delayed a year already, according to Bledsoe. He did not get a second on this proposal

When municipalities desire to grow planning should be a high priority. Sure, you build more housing and business to bring in more property taxes and sales tax. But, is the infrastructure ready? Bigger is not always better.

The City of Alcoa, TN announced:
a public open house will be held
on Thursday, September 28, 2017
from 5:00-7:00 PM
at the Alcoa Service Center
located at 725 Universal Street, Alcoa, TN 37701

City Officials, along with the Consultant Team of Kiser + Vogrin Design and Volkert, Inc. of Franklin, TN, will be available to discuss a master/vision plan being developed to guide redevelopment of approximately 265 acres on the former Alcoa West Plant site.

  • one of the state’s premier locations with redevelopment potential for commerce at a regional scale.
  • The City has long envisioned this property as a unique opportunity to establish
  • a new commercial and civic hub,
  • with residential opportunities,
  • as part of an area designated for more compact mixed-use development activities for a primary city center or downtown concept

Classified as a brownfield, the site has a limited number of known environmental constraints affecting development placement.

The site is edged by both the Springbrook and East Hall neighborhoods, which are neighborhoods of significance to the City’s company town roots

A railroad crossing will be undergoing repair on Alcoa Hwy, what locals call the bypass.

From 8 AM Sunday, August 27, 2017, to 6 AM Monday, August 28, 2017, South bound Alcoa Hwy (US 129) will be closed from the Hall Road intersection to the Louisville Road intersection. Hall Road is south of the airport and Hunt Road. Louisville Road is the intersection to access Walmart, Cracker Barrel, etc. Detours will take traffic to Hall Road, Bessemer Street, Louisville Road, then back to Alcoa Hwy.

Aug 3 2017

A free summer concert series held during the months of August and September in Springbrook Park. The series will focus on Americana, folk and blues genres featuring performances by regional and local musicians. Vendors will be on site.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 6-9 PM
Karen Reynolds, Angela Easterling, Robinella

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 6-9 PM
The Dirty Dougs, Wild Blue Yonder, Chuck Johnson and Charlyhorse

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 6-9 PM
Tommie John Band, Jesse Gregory King, Sam Lewis

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 6-9 PM
Kirk Fleta, Red Shoes & Rosin, Ian Thomas & The Band of Drifters

Jun 24 2017

Check it out.

Summer on Broadway in Downtown Maryville and FreedomFest in Alcoa at the Duck Pond.

The weather will clear up. Enjoy the day!

Little River Trading Co. had their official season grand opening today at Louisville Point Park. They have a nice assortment of kayaks and stand up paddle boards for rent, including tandem sit on top kayaks, and the rates are reasonable.

Details at KnoxViews

TDOT has announced a public meeting to gather public input on the plans for an Alcoa Highway Bypass, a 6-8 lane road proposed through Alcoa and Rockford.

The City of Alcoa originated in 1918 as the first planned community in the State of Tennessee. A planned community is any community that was carefully planned from its inception. In the original plans, Alcoa, Inc., included one acre of park space for every 100 city inhabitants. In addition, between 1918 and 1924 approximately 300 shade trees were planted along city streets and parks. This type of planning has gone by the wayside.

Please help us out. We do not need a colossal roadway through our communities. The proposed Alcoa Highway bypass will come too close to the treasured Springbrook neighborhood and community park. It will take away the Pine Lakes Golf Course. It will also negatively affect the Northwood, Glenmore Estates, and Cedar Hill neighborhoods as well as five other impacted areas. Very little noise abatement is planned. All of the existing Alcoa Hwy in Knox County and the majority in Blount County is being widened. Why can't the just widen the existing highway in the Alcoa area?

The meeting will be held:
Thursday, May, 18 2017
5 - 7 PM

The meeting location will be held at the Alcoa Public Works building.
725 Universal Street
(off of N. Wright Road/E. Edison Street, just north of Springbrook Road and east of Springbrook Park )
Alcoa, TN 37701

TDOT will take written comments, a court reporter will be available for verbal comments, and you can speak with TDOT representatives.
Reference the Blount County SR-115 (US-129) projects (Alcoa Hwy Bypass) in your comments.

Please attend to express your opinion for NO Alcoa Highway Bypass.

Apr 11 2017

I would love a New Urbanist town center in the City of Alcoa. I really like the Northshore Town Center. We can only hope they do not destroy the vibe and beauty of the Alcoa community during this process.

The City of Alcoa originated in 1918 as the first planned community in the State of Tennessee. A planned community is any community that was carefully planned from its inception. In the original plans, Alcoa, Inc., included one acre of park space for every 100 city inhabitants. In addition, between 1918 and 1924 approximately 300 shade trees were planted along city streets and parks.

For nearly ten years the City of Alcoa has been promoting a new urbanism town center. So far we have nothing except the mass clearing of a beautiful stand of pine trees five years ago. It was said the trees were cut down to provide passersby a view of the developement, which initially only included a Sam's Club. Sam's Club is no longer on the horizon and who wanted to see a Sam's Club anyway?

Five years ago, as part of the growth plan city officials wanted to direct the new development traffic through the heart of Alcoa, Springbrook Park and community. The community worked hard and pulled together to prevent this from happening.

Besides the fact, seven years ago Pellissippi Place off of Old Knoxville Hwy (Maryville Pike) near Hunt Road opened with expectations for "for a combination of tech-based businesses and research companies, quality hotels and conference centers, residential dwellings, river features, biking-hiking trails and retail stores." As of now there may be two businesses in Pellissippi Place.

Yesterday, the City of Alcoa broke ground (again?) on the new (?) development, which is "the result of the partnership of the city, private developers and Arconic, formerly ALCOA Inc., to bring a combination of commercial, retail, office and residential offerings."

I want to be happy. But some of the "success" of this project is dependent on the first phase of a new eight lane road through Alcoa. The completion of this road is unacceptable, in my opinion.

I want to be happy. But if the first possible commercial business was going to be a Sam's Club, how can I think this development will be new urbanism?

I want to be happy. But "Under a development agreement Alcoa inked with ACDP in November, the city is responsible for managing all the infrastructure including streets, water, sewer, electric, storm drainage and street lighting." Is the city stretching their assets and capabilities too far?

We can only hope something good will eventually come from these ever changing plans.

Apr 11 2017

A woman jogging in the Shannondale retirement community, off of Montvale Road in Maryville, happened to see an older woman lose control of her car and drive into a pond. The jogger screamed for help but did not have time to go for help. The car was sinking. She jumped in the water and held the woman's head above water until rescue personnel arrived.

Such a brave lady. We can't thank you enough for your efforts. You are a hero.

Apr 8 2017

Raccoons with either distemper or rabies are a problem in Blount County, primarily in the City of Alcoa.
Local officials think the problem is distemper, but it hasn't been confirmed.

According to Alcoa animal control, seventeen or eighteen raccoons have had to be euthanized in March. In the past, they have only had to euthanize two or three raccoons a year.

The strange behavior of infected raccoons includes being out in the day, walking in circles or lying on the ground. They might also be foaming from the mouth, even if suffering from distemper and not rabies, Harrison said.

Many of them will no longer act afraid of humans.
Residents who encounter them are asked to stay away from the animals and call the Blount County Communications Center non-emergency dispatch number at (865) 983-3620.

Be careful out there.

Feb 11 2017

Jackie Hill has done a lot for the City of Alcoa. She is taking it up a notch to speak with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan in response to his lack of communication with his constituents.

Thank you, Jackie Hill, for all you have done. Keep up the good work.

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