Thursday, July 29, 2010

Construction Update - July 29, 2010

As most of you know, Jackson Avenue has reopened and we are continuing to make progress in the final stages of the project. Bike racks and signage should be installed next week and the final striping of the parking stalls and roadway will occur soon as well.

Please be aware that the parking areas along the 200 Block will no longer be available after the roadway is restriped. The west side of the 200 Block of S. Gay Street will become a KAT bus stop and the eastern side will become a commercial loading zone as our plans have long indicated.

There will be also be two additional loading zones located on the 100 Block.

My friend, John Guston, sent me several photos taken around the time of the ribbon cutting.

The pictures below, I think, give a clear view of the improvements made. When the new trees arrive in early fall, the look will be complete. Additional plantings are to be placed in the planters soon as well.

We have removed the concrete in several areas of the roadway and have now replaced those sections with new concrete. It takes a little time for the concrete to cure and for the joints to be resealed with caulk, probably into the first week of August at least.

I know folks are always interested in the underground so below are two pictures taken under the sidewalk on the western side of the street.

The Contractor is removing his office trailer and the staging materials from the Jackson Avenue parking lot and we continue to plan for the rehabilitation of that lot.

Maintenance of the stairway at the Gay Street Viaduct is also in discussion.
Please remember that KPD plans to begin enforcement of parking violations once again on the O.P. Jenkins parking lot area beginning Monday, August 2, 1010.

The Block Party planning committee will meet for a brown bag lunch at noon on August 9, 2010 at the Emporium to discuss the event, tentatively planned for September 10, 2010.
As always, thanks for your interest.

Friday, July 23, 2010

O. P. Jenkins Parking Lot area

Since the parking lot has now been restriped and the extra meters have been installed for the additional parking spaces created during our Streetscapes project on the 100 Block, we will once again begin enforcing parking violations here beginning Monday, August 2, 2010. Please help us get the word out to those interested. Thanks

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Construction Update - July 22, 2010

Thanks to all who attended the ribbon cutting on the 100 Block Monday. The Block Party committee is continuing to make plans for the larger event now tentatively planned for September 10, 2010. Please contact the City Office of Special Events if you have ideas or want to be included in our celebration.

This week the Contractor is working on correcting the issues we have with the concrete surface and that has included having to use the concrete saw to remove some of the sections of pavement. This is a noisy and dusty process as you all know but we hope to get this completed by the end of the week and pour new concrete shortly thereafter. Then we will need a least a couple of weeks for the concrete to cure so we are thinking now that the road will probably reopen a little after the first of August.

There are still many items to finish on our punch list and we will continue to work on those issues after the road is opened. Certainly caulking all of the areas will take some time.
Many of you have asked about bike racks and we have those ready to be installed. Sometime soon we will begin installing the street signs and that will involve drilling holes in the sidewalk so we plan to drill the holes and install the bike racks at the same time. We were very happy to have the planter boxes with greenery by the ribbon cutting but even more plants will be going in as well. The trees may be delivered late next month and we will wait for the optimum time to plant those. Those are 20-25 foot elms as I understand it.

The sod for the Cradle of Country Music Park should also arrive finally next month so we can begin to finish that bit of work.

We are beginning to have issues with folks parking on the 100 Block, particularly at night. We have instructed KPD to keep a close watch on this and if you park there you will be cited and/or towed. We have placed no parking signs there, but folk are removing the barricades and entering the work zone. We all want this project to finish and have the road reopened as soon as possible and this is the type of situation that could cause real delays.
We have finally reopened Jackson Avenue for traffic a few days later than we had planned. We replaced the asphalt that was there before we began our work a couple of weeks ago. This asphalt does cover up a small portion of the brickwork but this is the way it has been for many years and is a result of the elevation of the Gay Street Viaduct. This issue will likely get revisited in the next couple of years when the Jackson Avenue Ramps undergo reconstruction.

The Contractor is beginning to remove his construction materials from the Jackson Avenue parking lot in anticipation of the lot reconstruction in August. The picture above is of a camper moved onto the lot a week or so ago. The Contractor came in early one night this week to discover the occupant here had "borrowed" an extension cord to hook into the Construction trailer for power. Obviously our parking lot is not a campground so we had this removed.

Last, congratulations to our friend Stanton Webster of Nama on the birth of his daughter, Sophia Estelle Webster.

Thanks for your interest

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Construction Update - July 15, 2010

Please don't forget the ribbon cutting now scheduled for July 19, 2010 at 11:00 am. Most of the work on the block is expected to be completed by then but the actual final opening of the road through the 100 Block has now become problematic. We always have had a final deadline of August 15 but had optimistically scheduled the ribbon cutting based on our projections three weeks ago. Some recent issues that have been discovered as we begin our final engineering inspections have forced us to delay the time to have the road completely opened, however. We had hoped to be able to open the road and keep at least one lane open but some extra work is required in both lanes so we felt it was best just to complete all of the work at once. The effect of this is that we will not be able to open the road permanently on July 19 as we had hoped.

We all want it to be right when we are finished here so spending a little extra time now seems to make a lot of sense.

Thanks to all of you for attending the 100 Block meeting this week. We discussed parking issues including signage on the Gay Street Viaduct and City Engineering is investigating those issues for me. Commercial loading zones and possible 15 minute parking spaces also had discussion. This is an issue that exists all over downtown and we are in the process of determining a solution that works for everyone.

A Committee is forming to plan the Block party planned for late August or September and this will be coordinated through our Office of Special Events. Contact them if you wish to be included.

Lastly, we were glad to hear that plans are being made to reconstitute the 100 Block Neighbourhood Association. I am sure you will be hearing more about that in the near future. Sean Christman of Slamdot will be heading up this organization.

As most of you know, we have only a little sidewalk work in front of the former VMC building left to finalize and we will finish this up this week. Other than caulking, this will finish up all of the sidewalk work for the project.

We are hoping to have our planter boxes completed but we continue to have delays with our vendors due to Nashville flooding. We plan to install the trees in September and these will be 20' to 30' Elms so the effect should be quite dramatic.

Jackson Avenue will be reopened sometime next week after some paving required to tie back the new construction to the Jackson Avenue ramp (see picture below)

Overall though, I think the block is looking great. The 200 Block has been completed for some time, the street lights are in and are functioning, the street furniture is in place, O.P. Jenkins Parking Lot area has been completely refurbished, Fire Street Alley has been completely rebuilt, and the Cradle of Country Music Park has been expanded. All of the new utilities are in place and are on line, and the underground areas have new pavement.

The picture above was sent to me by a friend and was taken from a book he received recently.

The book, "Knoxville - A Pictorial History", has this photograph and the accompanying text:

"In 1869, S.T. Post and Son started making wagons and carriages. In 1978, Post and Company is still in business, but they make truck bodies nowadays. This photo, taken from Summitt Hill in 1872, shows Post's original location. Gay Street goes from left to right in the foreground. Peabody School is the large cupolaed building just below the left horizon. East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad trains - now the site of the Southern railroad yards - are below the Peabody. The circus was held just above the pond near the center of the picture. Central Avenue (originally Crozier Street) can just be seen halfway up on the right behind the white house."

Thanks again to all of the folks on the bock for their patience and understanding throughout this complicated project.

As always, thanks for your interest.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Construction Update - July 8, 2010

Construction crews are continuing their work in the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Gay Street and are finishing up with the colored concrete section in front of the Emporium.

The picture below is of one of the two seating areas on the widened sidewalk in front of the Emporium.
Thanks to Scott Williams and Donald Jenkins of City Engineering for helping me understand the following two pictures. The first is of the reconstruction of Gay Street around 1917 and shows the first columns to support the new sidewalk being constructed on the west side in front of the former VMC building on Gay Street.

The picture below is of the intersection of Jackson and Gay Street probably in the late 1890's. It is interesting to note that this was before the Emporium was built. The lower right corner of the photo shows the depression in which the Emporium Building was finally constructed. Note the wooden fence along Jackson to keep folks from falling in the steep depression.

Also it is interesting to note the two railroad buildings that no longer exist just below Jackson Avenue.

Please don't forget the 100 Block meeting planned for 5:30pm on July 13 at the Emporium.

Topics of discussion will include the Block Party, 100 Block Association, and any construction issues.

Thanks for your interest.