The Blount County Democratic Party is hosting an evening with Wanda Sobieski as she presents a program “The Legacy and Challenge of Suffrage”. The event will include an Italian dinner and more.

As coordinator of the Knoxville Women’s Suffrage Coalition and a commissioner of the Tennessee Commemorative Women’s Suffrage Commission, Sobieski led the effort to raise funding for the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Memorial and see it through to its unveiling in August 2006 in Knoxville’s Market Square.

Date/Time - Friday Nov. 20th – 7pm

Location - Martin Luther King Center in Alcoa (209 E. Franklin Street)

Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door.

Phone 379-8683 for more information.

Oct 20 2015

Governor Bill Haslam visited Maryville in Blount County to announce the addition of an ammunitions company to the community. The company is expecting to invest $553M in the project and bring 605 jobs to the area.

The new facility is said to be located in Partnership Park North, which appears to be on Proffit Springs Road in Alcoa, which is off of Louisville Loop Road which is off of Louisville Road.

There does not appear to be any other businesses in Partnership Park North. It is surrounded by agriculture and residential land. It is less than a mile from the airport runways, but you would not know it by driving in the area.

The land is currently owned by the Industrial Development Board of Blount County. It looks like it was purchased for $2.3M in 1998. There either is or was a dairy farm on the property.

Oct 16 2015

Smart Growth America has published their findings after meetings with various citizens, business owners, and government officials.

There is a summary report of Suggested Next Steps.

Excepts from the summary report:

With respect to the Alcoa West Plant site, mixed-use zoning has yet to be assigned for the proposed town center. At this time, Alcoa has only rezoned a portion of the site’s border along an arterial corridor as Planned Commercial Unit Development (PUD).

One of the most critical [drawbacks] is that the latest available public concept plans for the site are very general in nature and do not specifically designate an area for a compact mixed-use town center development,

Having a more detailed master plan that identifies a town center site, and other key development plan attributes, should
provide specific guidance for staff if a negotiated PUD approach is continued

It will also help Alcoa realize its ambitious goals for the site, rather than proceeding on a project-by-project basis
without any overarching vision.

We recommend, however, that instead of continuing to rely on a negotiated PUD, Alcoa seriously consider instituting a new zoning district for the 350-acre town center site.

In most communities with town center zones, code provisions include standards intended to ensure that projects include at least some minimum mix of nonresidential and residential uses as they are built out. The current Mixed Use District "E-3" does not address this issue.

A hallmark of town center zoning districts is increased density of residential development and intensity of commercial projects to help support transit and create a lively work and living atmosphere.

Town center and mixed-use zoning districts often contain building design standards intended to promote high-quality development, and streetscape characteristics that are conducive to the active pedestrian environment so important to the success of such districts.

Compatibility of new development in a town center area with existing residents and surrounding neighborhoods is also often a leading issue.

Alcoa and other communities that are exploring town center projects should also consider specific neighborhood compatibility and protection standards that go beyond the typical buffer and landscaping regulations that are suburban in nature (wide buffers with trees and shrubs).

Involving local citizens in the planning process helps ensure awareness of, and support for, the town center.

Oct 7 2015

The Tennessee Equality Project turnout was impressive, with about 200 people turning out to save Blount County.

The Blount Co. Commission agenda committee voted 10 to 5 against considering any of the the proposed agenda items (apparently for the the first time ever), effectively killing the plea to God to save Blount County from the gay agenda for now. That doesn't mean it's over, but probably.

Full story and pictures at KnoxViews.

Sep 29 2015

Alcoa spinning off automative/aerospace business.

Alcoa Inc (AA.N) said on Monday it will split into two companies to separate its struggling aluminum smelting operations from production of lightweight metals for its faster-growing aerospace and automotive business.

Local operations will be in the new company.

The Blount County Democratic Women’s Club cordially invites the community to join them for their Annual Bean Dinner. This year’s theme is “Honoring Our Heroes”.
We encourage all veterans in Blount County to come out and join us for a good ole fashioned Bean Dinner with cornbread, all the fixings and homemade desserts as we honor them for their service.

Keynote Speaker will be the Honorable Andy Berke, Mayor of Chattanooga

When - Friday, October 30, 2015
Time - 6:00 p.m.—9:00 p.m.
Tickets - $10.00 Available in Advance or at the Door
Information Contact - 865-221-6819
Where - American Legion Post 13, 224 Waters Road, Maryville, TN. Go out Hwy 321/E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, past Morningview Village and Little River Trading Company. Waters Road is on the right, just past Grandview Drive. Go straight on Waters Road and you should end up at the American Legion.

Sep 19 2015

Does Blount County really want to be an extension of Oak Ridge? Lamar Alexander thinks so, but only mentions Blount County in reference to jobs already in the works.

“I can think of no better calling card for a job recruiter than to be able to go anywhere in the world and say, ‘I’m from the Oak Ridge Corridor,'” the Tennessee Republican said in a press release after speaking to Rotary members at the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. “In Anderson, Roane, and Knox counties, more than 40,000 people have graduate or professional degrees.

Alexander failed to mention Blount County in the quote. Pellissippi Parkway doesn't go into Anderson County.

In my road travels I see quite a few technology corridors in different states and I wonder how the designations get assigned. People today barely recognize the reference to Oak Ridge. As if the road name change will bring more jobs. It's all BS, IMHO.

Sep 19 2015

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Pellissippi Parkway Extension is complete and available from TDOT. The FEIS was approved by the Federal Highway Administration on September 10, 2015.

Go to KnoxViews for more information.

Sep 18 2015

The Blount County Democratic Party is gathering together for an “End of Summer” potluck picnic.

Where: Greenbelt Pavilion behind the Blount County Courthouse, 201 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, TN
When: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 1:00 – 5:00 PM.
Bring a dish. Check out the above link for what is needed.

Featured speakers:
Pam Weston, former candidate for State House Rep. District 21 Terry Adams, former U.S. Senate candidate
Mary Wilson will be talking about Voter Registration.
Terry Adams and Neal Madore will sing and play guitar as the entertainment for the event.

Blount County Dems on Facebook

Sep 15 2015

While driving down Louisville Road in Alcoa, we noticed an elderly woman and a slightly younger gentleman pushing a lawn mower up the sidewalk. It looked like a bit of an effort for them and they were going up a slight hill. We pulled over on a side street to stop and help. As we were getting out of our car, a young man pulled over to help as well. The three men were able to get the lawn mower back up to the driveway of the house. The young man also took the time to show the owners of the lawn mower how to get it running again.

Many thanks to the Mr. and the young man for stopping to aid this family.

Sep 8 2015

Clayton Homes is building a disc golf course near the headquarters in Alcoa, TN. The course is set to open in mid-October.

Clayton is leasing the course to the City of Alcoa. It will be maintained by the Blount County Parks and Rec.

The 18-hole course will be on about 120 acres, 9 wooded holes and 9 open holes.

Clayton Homes is located on Clayton Road, off of Maryville Pike between the Hunt Road intersection and Pellissippi Parkway. There is a Food Lion close by.

Many thanks to Clayton Homes for adding to Blount County's parks.

Sep 2 2015

Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America and Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, along with Christopher Duerksen, a land use lawyer with the Clarion Associates, provided an interesting presentation on ideas and innovations of land use and zoning. The program was made available to the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization from Smart Growth America through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

Millar’s discussion was on Smart Grown as an economic development strategy. Duerksen’s presentation focused on zoning codes to enable Smart Growth.

Millar said, “a primary purpose for growth in a community is to attract, retain, and grow business.” He followed up that 80% of growth is from existing businesses in the area. Millennials and Baby Boomers make up the majority of the population for spending, housing, and government revenues. The majority of both groups are looking for walkable areas to live, work, and be entertained. Therefore, there needs to be a change to “lifestyle centers.” “Compact development is more effective. Revenue generated by multi-story, multi-use buildings is greater than a single story big box store. Smart Growth is a great economic development strategy.” He noted that government budgets are under a lot of pressure. Economic development, done correctly, can increase government revenues.

Duerksen’s presentation focused on zoning as the key element to Smart Growth. The important message: if you don’t get the zoning correct before development you won’t get the best economic development. Market Square and Northshore Town Center in Knoxville were mentioned as good mixed use developments in the area. Pellissippi Place in Alcoa was also mentioned, but I’m not sure why. It is a development with infrastructure and one business. No mixed use whatsoever. The developers have hope for mixed use but it does not mean it will happen.

Walmart/Sam’s Club was mentioned several times during both presentations. I have to wonder if the reason was because the City of Alcoa is courting Sam’s Club to be the first development in the new Alcoa Town Center at the old ALCOA west plant. Several attendees questioned the suitability of Sam’s Club as a part of a mixed use development. The Sam’s Club in West Knoxville would not be a good fit. Duerksen suggested that zoning rules need to be created to make a Sam’s Club acceptable. However, it may be too late to change the rules since Sam’s Club is already considering the site with the existing, limited zoning.

Millar mentioned the Institute for Self-Reliance as a site to review for design quality. I did a search of the site for Walmart and the results primarily showed how Walmart hurts the community. One example was a negative impact on police costs resulting from shoplifting, check fraud, and traffic accidents. This negative impact may be supported by all of the police reports from the Alcoa Walmart in the local paper.

The South Knox Waterfront group did a good thing by developing zoning guidelines before getting new developments started. I hope it is not too late for the City of Alcoa and the ALCOA west plant project.

Aug 26 2015

Smart Growth America zoning planning workshop

When -
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
6 PM

Where -
Alcoa Service Center
725 Universal Street, Alcoa, TN 37701

Phone -

The City of Alcoa, in partnership with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, was one of 14 communities nationwide selected for the technical assistance program from a pool of more than 120 applications. The program is made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant to Smart Growth America from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

This workshop, part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, will provide local citizens and planners with tools and techniques to begin creating a vision for Alcoa’s future growth. The workshop will show how shifting development patterns towards more compact, walkable forms can boost the local economy and reduce public spending on infrastructure.

An in-depth workshop will take place the following day for joint staff and local development professionals.

Aug 25 2015

A couple of years ago Sweet Celebrations took over the old Kay's building at 1400 W. Broadway in Maryville. It looked like it was going to be a hit. Good food and a really cute building in a pretty good location. Alas, we see they didn't make it. Running a restaurant is hard work and many fail. We hate to see them go.

Traffic fatalities based on local media reports.

Update as of October 27, 2015
(Tracking begins August 15, 2015)
Based on local media reports found, there have been:

4 Traffic fatalities in Blount County

0 on Alcoa Highway
0 on Hwy 411
0 on Hwy 321

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