Crews begin work on sidewalk improvements in Downtown Knoxville’s Old City

Local News

Tice Tansil is the owner of Boldure Gifts in the Old City. He says the shop has been in its current location for more than a decade but a new construction project just outside their door is bringing some changes. 

“I think it’s good in the long run,” said Tansil. “It’s obviously a little loud and a little messy, but I think it’s going to be great for downtown and the Old City in general.”

Rick Emmett, the downtown coordinator for the the City of Knoxville, says work started Tuesday on Central Avenue between Willow and Jackson avenues. 

“We’re trying to improve ADA access, also trying to improve the sidewalk width a little bit as we can, trying to protect the bike racks here and also trying to provide some traffic calming at these intersections,” said Emmett.

Part of the work will include the addition of bulb outs which are improvements to help walkers.

“It’s a little bit of a wider sidewalk and it creates the shorter distance for pedestrians to cross the street, basically, because it bulbs out into the street just a bit,” said Emmett. 

Emmett says this phase will cost around $250,000.

“Eventually this summer we are going to repave this entire street and re-stripe the parking and re-stripe those crosswalks and it will all look very nice,” said Emmett.

Tansil says he doesn’t expect the construction to affect business too much. 

“I think a lot of people are standing around gawking and confused how to drive or even get around down here,” said Tansil. “But in general, I think people will still come to our business and others, so, it’s going to be fine.”

He says it is all a part of the way the Old City has evolved over the last decade. 

“Now, it’s a lot more residential, so, people are here more in the day time and even earlier in weekend hours, people are walking around, more families and all instead of people just out for a drink or a good time,” said Tansil.

Crews will work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The project should wrap up on Friday, June 8. 

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