Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Construction Update - October 1, 2009

Work is progressing on the reconstruction of Fire Street Alley. The last phase near the O.P. Jenkins parking lot will begin on Monday, and we hope to have this phase of the project completed by late next week. There is still a little utility work there to complete as well.

Several water meters are to be installed in the 100 Block beginning next week. This should complete this portion of the infrastructure work for this utility for awhile.

KUB continues to work on energizing the newly installed electrical service in this area. The pictures below show the new transformer being installed into the new vault. Thanks to Keavon Ray for sending these to me. This continued work should allow us to continue on into the 200 Block of S. Gay Street as we have previously discussed by the middle of the month.

We also are hopeful that we can begin the work on the structural columns and then begin the sidewalk construction toward the middle of the month as well. Most of the issues have finally been settled so I know we are all looking forward to that work progressing.

I plan to schedule a meeting in October so please forward to me any agenda items you might want to have discussed.

I have been notified, and have noticed myself, that the 'We are Open' sign at Jackson has been down. Unfortunately that sign is not looking too good these days and has become almost impossible to keep up due to its tattered condition. I plan to discuss signage at our meeting as I believe it is obviously time to erect a new sign of some sort.

Our negotiations concerning the Jackson Avenue parking lot continue to go well. We still are planning improvements including signage there.

I know many of you have been interested in the timeline of the reconstruction of the Jackson Avenue ramps. After much discussion we have decided that the best course of action is to continue on as we have originally planned.

Here is a statement sent to some folks we have been meeting with concerning this issue distributed by Bob Whetsel, Director of Redevelopment within my Department.

'As some of you know but others may not, the city has decided to continue working on the Ramp replacement project using federal dollars allocated through the state bridge program. This means that the design process will be controlled by the Federal 4(f) process because of the historic nature of the structure. In practical terms this means that construction of the ramps is still several years out. I am not going to try time estimates except to say that 2013 is probably the earliest any project might begin and that would be optimistic. Cost to local government was the primary driver for the decision.

If there is structure failure during that time we will have to mitigate the situation as we did a few months ago when the Ramp was closed for a few days for repairs.'

Lastly, many thanks to Lt. Bobby Hubbs of the Knoxville Police Department who is retiring with over 30 years of service. Lt. Hubbs has been instrumental to many of our crime initiatives in the downtown area particularly and will be missed by many of us. He is going to work for the Knox County Sheriff in a newly formed crime analysis unit and I know we all wish him well in this new endeavor.

Another First Friday will roll around tomorrow and I know there are some exciting events planned at the Emporium and other venues so I look forward to seeing you there.

As always, thanks for your interest and suggestions.

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