South Knoxville neighbors working to revitalize community

South Knoxville neighbors working to revitalize community

Posted:
Although the Henley Bridge has reopened, store owners are still working to revitalize the Vestal community. Although the Henley Bridge has reopened, store owners are still working to revitalize the Vestal community.
Residents and business owners met at the South Knoxville Community Center Sunday afternoon to talk about ways to improve the Vestal community. Residents and business owners met at the South Knoxville Community Center Sunday afternoon to talk about ways to improve the Vestal community.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Traffic is picking up in South Knoxville now that one lane of the Henley bridge is back open.

It's a change that's making a big impact for store owners, who have struggled the last three years.

Now these businesses are wondering what other changes can be made to improve their community. Sunday afternoon residents and business owners met at the South Knoxville Community Center to talk about ways to improve the Vestal community.

This is a grassroots effort to rebuild and revitalize Vestal, the historic community in South Knoxville. The goal Sunday was to simply think of additions to the long term plan set by city leaders.

A list of ideas was being compiled by neighbors and business leaders, these ideas had to be reasonably easy to accomplish as well as inexpensive. They also had to the chance to map out possibilities outside in parts of Vestal.

These ideas ranged from cleaning up downtown, to improving sidewalks and street signs, to more fun and family friendly events.

Groups also had to think of ways to fund these small projects.

The owner of McLemore Florist says by making small changes in South Knoxville, his business would likely see more customers.

"Just a small amount of money and some hard work can make a big difference. The big thing is making the outside inviting so people won't only drive by, they'll stop, slow down, and look. Hopefully they'll shop with your business," said owner Jeff Christian.

Rebecca Husain with South Knoxville Alliance says any change would help because needs are always shifting. "The dynamics will change for a place and there have been very positive strides for the Vestal area. A lot of positive changes but it never hurts to get a little boost and that's what this is more like a boost," said Husain.

There's no timeline on when any of these ideas would become a reality. The next step is to compile the ideas from Sunday into a report and meet with city leaders to discuss which would be the best to try first.

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