Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County.More >>
Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County. More >>
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The SmartFIX-40 project reshaped the interstate through downtown Knoxville when it wrapped up around June 2009. But more than three years later, the community center built for the project is still unused.
The center is located at the corner of North 6th Street and Hall of Fame Drive.
"This was one of spots people were able to go to find out more about the project. Meetings were held here, it was a great spot to have," said TDOT Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi.
Currently the building is of no use. It remains vacant, with much of the property unkept.
Johnny Orr has seen it from his Abilene Place home since he moved to town eight years ago.
The community center was built when the SmartFix project began in 2005.
"I couldn't tell you how long, but it's been awhile since they've used it," said Orr.
Other neighbors have worried about the building being unattended.
"People just pull over there, you don't know if they're stealing stuff or whatever. We just have to keep an eye out on it," said Kenneth Sharp, a nearby neighbor.
TDOT said the last remaining community center building for the project is in the process of being removed within months.
The department doesn't destroy these buildings; they actually move them and place them in other locations in the state.
The first community center building at the site was removed in January and relocated to a site in Johnson City.
TDOT plans to move the remaining building to Johnson City, allowing the state to get more use out of both buildings.
"That will be able to replace some similar trailer-type of buildings that TDOT utilize up there," Nagi said.
Nagi said since the project was completed, those buildings were used for training purposes, as well as TDOT meetings. The buildings weren't occupied every day, but they were utilized.
Neighbors said they are looking forward to the building being gone.
"It would be a lot whole better, have a better view down through the road there. That way, it'd look 100 percent better," Sharp said.
No decision has been made on what to do with the land where the building sits.
A similar community center is currently in use at the Henley Bridge project on the south side of the Tennessee River.