Despite business construction, city doesn't plan to alter roads

Despite business construction, city doesn't plan to alter roads near Papermill Plaza

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The addition of popular stores in West Knoxville's Papermill Plaza is drawing a mixed response from local businesses and shoppers. The addition of popular stores in West Knoxville's Papermill Plaza is drawing a mixed response from local businesses and shoppers.
By SHELBY MILLER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The addition of popular stores in West Knoxville's Papermill Plaza is drawing a mixed response from local businesses and shoppers.

For some people, any new business is good business, but for others the added stores mean more traffic to the already congested area, which sits near Papermill Drive and Kingston Pike.

"With new construction going on we think that's a really good thing for the Knoxville area," said Judi Abrams.

Abrams and her husband own the fabric store, Mill Agent, which sits across the street from the construction at Papermill Plaza. They've set up shop there for more than 14 years.

Abrams says the store took a hit with the economy.  It's improved some since then, and she hopes it continues to grow thanks to the expanding area. However, Abrams knows more traffic in her store also means more traffic on the street and she wonders what the City of Knoxville plans to do.

"They've obviously not widened the roads, so we're anxious to see how that progresses as well. We're not sure if they're going to have a turn lane, or what's that going to be, so, yeah, that's another thing we're anxious to see what happens," Abrams said.

Papermill Plaza brings big brand names, including the popular high-end grocery chain Whole Foods, the outdoor sports shop REI, and the beauty shop Ulta.

Angelica Bennett works down the road. She says the added shopping may be nice, but the traffic is already too much for her to take.

"The traffic here isn't terrible, but the construction doesn't help," Bennett said. "If I can avoid coming here, even if I have to go to Sevierville to do any kind of shopping."

While drivers may not enjoy the congestion, Abrams says she enjoys watching the construction out her window. She's excited for the new business she anticipates it'll bring to west Knoxville.

"We just hope it will continue to boost because when you see growth, that's a good thing," she said.

A spokesperson from the City of Knoxville says the intersection was already zoned for the type of big business Whole Foods, REI and Ulta bring. As of now, the city doesn't plan to do any construction to the roadways, but they say once the stores open later this year they'll continue to monitor the traffic flow and make changes if needed.
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