Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Construction Update - July 1, 2010

We are happy to finally announce that the ribbon cutting for the Streetscapes Project along the 100 and 200 blocks of S. Gay Street will be held on the morning of July 19, 2010. We had previously announced the date as July 20 but have now moved it up one day (a revised press release will be going out soon with the time). I will announce more about this as the day draws closer.

We will most certainly still have occasional lane closures for at least another month along the block but we are hopeful that at least one lane can remain open from here on out.

We will not plant the trees until the fall, probably in November and given their size, we will have to have some lane closures then as well.

The sod we had ordered for the Cradle of Country Music Park was to come from Nashville but because of the flooding there, this has been delayed so we still will have that bit of work to do.

Of course First Friday is July 2 and we hope to have much of the colored concrete poured on the eastern sidewalk by then. We must wait, however, until we begin our work on the final section of sidewalk in front of the Emporium so we can make sure the colors all are uniform with the concrete on Jackson Avenue.

The Jackson intersection will receive the same colored concrete treatments as the intersection of Vine Avenue and Gay Street. This will necessitate one remaining two week closure of this intersection beginning July 5, 2010 at 7:00 am.

For more information on First Friday events and on some fine organizations, please follow these links:

Below are pictures of the Emporium building shortly after the road was reopened in 1919 and the next picture is of some of the business that went on there.

Since we have been able to move more quickly on this final bit of work, we will not have the parking kiosks in place by the ribbon cutting so we will simply stripe off the parking stalls and allow free parking until we can get these units installed.

Also, we apologize for all of the confusion over the misaligned parking meters on the O. P. Jenkins parking lot. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we can get that situation rectified but I am happy that KPD will not be enforcing parking meter violations here until we are able to restripe that lot. This work is now tentatively scheduled for July 11th. If all goes according to plan, we will post signs about this on Friday July 9, 2010 and clean the lot on the evening of July 10, 2010.

I am planning another 100 Block neighborhood meeting to be held at 5:30pm on Tuesday July 13 at the Emporium. I really hope many of you can attend to help us plan for the opening celebration and also to begin discussion about an 100 Block Neighborhood organization. Of course we will also review our progress on the project and the next steps until completion.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable 4th of July Holiday. I know many excellent events are planned downtown .

Thanks for your interest

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Construction Update - June 17, 2010

As promised, the Contractor has now poured most of the concrete for the roadway and is beginning to pour some of the colored concrete at the intersection of Jackson Avenue at Gay Street.

Probably beginning next week we will start with the colored concrete topcoat, beginning on the eastern sidewalk where we ended a few weeks ago. Again, this work must be done at night beginning around 7:30pm. The roadway itself will be available for travel with entrances created into the effected doorways.

On July 6 we plan to shut down the Jackson Avenue intersection once again to finish up this bit of work. This intersection will receive the same colored concrete treatments as the other intersections.

As many of you have noticed, the street lights on both sides of the street are now in place and are energized. We are still working to get all of the bulbs functioning correctly however.
Below is a another picture of the 1919 construction efforts here.

I am in continued discussion with the Contractor about start times and noise so hopefully we can do better in that regard. I really believe that in another month we will be substantially finished with the major construction so please hang in there with us just a little longer.

Our friends at Slamdot wanted me to remind you of the following event tonight: Slamdot will be hosting a Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce networking event on Thursday, June 17th, from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Slamdot Store downtown, located at 108 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902. Everyone is welcome!

I am planning to set up another neighborhood meeting around the middle of July to discuss progress as well as to get ideas on plans for the Streetscapes opening Block party and ribbon cutting. I hope many of you can be there because we need your input. We are also discussing the possibility of banners being placed on the street light poles as we have done in other parts of the City.

I will be on hiatus next week but will also check on progress and if anything major occurs I will post a brief message here.

Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Construction Update - June 10, 2010

As complicated and challenging as this Streetscapes Project has been, the original construction must have been equally as daunting as evidenced by the following picture pre 1919.

Of course below is a picture of the completed look after 1919 completion.

We have now reopened Jackson Avenue upon completion of utility work. Unfortunately we must close Jackson Avenue one more time for approximately two weeks, probably beginning on the Monday after First Friday in July, to finish repaving this area.

We have also finished the last section of sidewalk on the western side of S. Gay Street (see next two pictures).

Street lights have been installed on both sides of the street and the lights are energized on the eastern section.We hope to have all of the street lights turned on by the end of next week.

The road work is now coming along at a rapid pace and by the end of next week we are hoping to have all of the concrete poured for the roadway.

Sometime around the week of June 21 we will begin finishing the sidewalk sections with the colored concrete. This work will be done primarily at night beginning around 7:30pm as the concrete is temperature sensitive. This pour of concrete should be set up by the next morning. After we get a few sections poured we will have a real good idea of timing for the remaining sections. While this work is being done, the street itself will be used for pedestrian traffic. We are aware of the noise issues and are not planning to use any equipment except for the concrete trucks and the crews themselves with wheelbarrows. Access will be provided for all of the entrances as we go.

We are getting to a point in construction where we can all see the finish line. Hallelujah!

Thanks for your interest.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jackson Avenue

We hope to reopen Jackson Avenue by tomorrow morning, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Construction Update - June 3, 2010

As many of you know, we have now closed the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Gay Street for about two weeks for some much needed electrical work for KUB.

I thought I would post these two old pictures I had of that intersection. The first picture is of the first reconstruction efforts in 1919 and the second is of a parade downtown after construction.

Of course every one hundred years or so some maintenance is required so here we are again.

The picture below is of some additional trolley rails we encountered.

When the Gay Street Viaduct was reconstructed the grades were such that some of the brickwork for the Jackson Avenue ramps had to be covered with pavement to match grade. The picture below is of some of that brickwork we have uncovered for this phase of work.
Some folks had called with questions about our traffic control signs and those should have been better positioned by now. Please let me know if any problems are noted.

Of course, one of the main issues here is dealing with an old KUB vault in the middle of the intersection.

The 100 Block of S. Gay Street is really starting to take shape now as reflected in the next picture. The structural concrete has been poured back for the sidewalk in front of the restaurants and also for the next section near Unarmed Merchants. The last remaining section is being removed today near Dewhirst Properties and we hope to have that last section back in concrete in about two weeks. In the meantime we will also pour concrete for the remaining roadway sections and also begin the colored concrete topcoat. This bit of work for the topcoat will occur primarily at night after 7:30 and will only involve concrete trucks and wheelbarrows so we hope to make as little noise here as possible. The concrete should set up by the next morning so most folks will not be as inconvenienced.

We have placed a sign at the O. P. Jenkins area parking area intersection with the 200 Block for safety and will continue to monitor its effectiveness.

Lest we forget, we have come a long way on improvements for this area. Thanks to Michael Haynes for providing the following picture of the 100 Block from the early 70's I am guessing.

This weekend will bring many great events downtown with First Friday on June 4 along with our first ever Biscuit Festival so please come downtown and enjoy all of the festivities and make sure to visit all of our merchants while you are here, particularly our friends on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street such as Eleven, URbhana, Unarmed Merchants, Slamdot, and Nama. Ollantay's Havana Nights is undergoing some renovation as I understand it, and will be reopening soon.
Also don't forget Regas Restaurant just on the other side of the Gay Street Viaduct.
Be sure to visit Hola's office at the Emporium while you are there on Friday. Works by Colombian artist Jorge Yances will be on display, along with works by many other artists in other sections of the Emporium and the UT Art Gallery next door.
Of course many other fine artists will have their work displayed at all of the galleries downtown as well and I know they all would appreciate your continued support.
City People will be sponsoring a downtown dash tomorrow as well. Registration 6-7pm outside of Pete's on Union Ave. Race begins at 7:30pm!

Lastly, Slamdot will be hosting a Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce networking event on Thursday, June 17th, from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Slamdot Store downtown, located at 108 S. Gay Street. For more details on this event, please visit the Slamdot website at the link on this page.
Thanks for your interest.