KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The City of Knoxville will invest over $5 million dollars of federal and local funds to renovate a North Knoxville business park in hopes of spurring new economic investment.

The City is investing almost $5.5 million in local and federal funds in the Interstate 275 Business Park Access Improvements Project. More than $1 million in City tax dollars is committed to the project with the majority of funding coming from a federal grant.

A 1,100-foot-long extension of Blackstock Avenue will be built to connect West Fifth Avenue and Bernard Avenue. A 1,600-foot-long section of Marion Street between Bernard and Baxter avenues will be improved, along with a 650-foot-long section of Baxter, between I-275 and the railroad tracks by Second Creek.

The new section of Blackstock Avenue and the upgraded Marion Street will feature two 11-foot-wide lanes, curb and gutter, 5-foot-wide sidewalks and a 10-foot multipurpose trail from West Fifth Avenue to Bernard Avenue. 

Marion Street is being realigned from Dameron Avenue to Baxter Avenue. There also will be minor improvements to the intersections of Fifth Avenue and Blackstock Avenue; Marion Street and Bernard Avenue, and Marion Street and Baxter Avenue.

“This corridor has vacant tracts and is strategically located next to an interstate, but it’s underdeveloped right now, in part because of the poor street connectivity,” said Chief Economic and Community Development Officer Stephanie Welch. “The street pattern isn’t conducive to through traffic, and it’s currently difficult for commercial trucks to get in and out to service a manufacturer or a warehouse.

“But by putting in modern street infrastructure, the City is opening up this entire corridor. The goal is to help bring underused properties back into full use, which ultimately creates jobs and builds community prosperity.”

Work is slated to begin on Monday, July 6, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. No immediate road closures are expected.