Debate over plans for the Old Knoxville High School heats up

Debate over plans for the Old Knoxville High School heats up

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The school is considered a historic landmark for those living in the area. The school is considered a historic landmark for those living in the area.
Forty people attended Sunday's meeting in hopes their voices might be heard. Forty people attended Sunday's meeting in hopes their voices might be heard.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The debate over the future of the Old Knoxville High School building got more intense Sunday night.

The school is considered a historic landmark for those living in the area.

A $13.7 million project was presented to transform the property into an independent living facility for seniors.

Neighbors told 6 News they are frustrated because of a lack of communication between project leaders and the residents.

Forty people attended Sunday's meeting in hopes their voices might be heard.

Some oppose the idea to turn the school into a center for seniors. Instead they are vying for a mixed use of the building including residential and commercial spaces.

"The proposal that is the strongest is the one that is mixed use," said Melynda Whestel, a 4th and Gill neighborhood resident. "I love the idea of decreased rent payments for teachers to bring young folks to the neighborhood. My husband and I came here as school teachers for 30 years, and we've been here ever since. It's just a much more vital, stronger and visional proposal."

Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles said commissioners plan to take another look at the proposals.

"The bottom line is that there is no way the community can lose on this. Either way development is going to be a step forward for this piece of property," Broyles said.

Knox County commissioners will have a work session Monday at 2 p.m. to discuss the proposals.

Broyles said she plans to ask for a 30-day extension.

Some neighbors say they want more time to have additional meetings and discussion about the best use for the property.

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