At Last, An Architectural Rendering!
Allow me first to congratulate and thank Metro Pulse for bringing us the community forum meeting at the Bijou, where we learned that our city's leaders have big plans for Knoxville. I was gratified to hear that average citizens like myself will be brought into the planning process, as soon as our administration, in cooperation with major developers, has decided what we Knoxvillians really want.
I must, however, and for once, disagree with Jack Neely. In his article "Free Market Square" [Vol. 10, No. 7] he opposes enclosing a large portion of Market Square Mall. To me this concept seems a great idea: it would provide a comfortable venue, protected from the elements, where a wide variety of Knoxville's tradespeople and craftsmen could offer their wares to their fellow townsfolk. Eateries, florists, fish mongers, and clothiers could all share a pleasant gathering place built on a human scale. I have done a sketch of such an enclosure as I envision it.
Some Legitimate Demands
My purpose in writing is to express my concerns and desires for the pending public forum on the downtown "justice center." First, I would like to thank the Knox County Commission for their time and effort to review the current information regarding this project.
Secondly, I urge County Executive Tommy Schumpert and the County Commission to implement the following points:
1. The public forum should be scheduled at a convenient time in the evening so as to allow the majority of people who work during the day to attend. The forum date and time should also be announced far enough in advance for the citizens of Knox County to add it to their schedules.
2. The information collected during this time for review should be presented to the public. This information should be given to the public BEFORE the meeting in order to allow the citizens of Knox County to read and understand the facts before voicing an opinion and asking questions.
3. This meeting should not be a standard pro-forma public meeting where a panel of government officials simply sits on one side and listens to citizens make comments. This meeting should be an interactive dialogue between the citizens of Knox County and knowledgeable people associated with the project. In order for this to occur, important attendees should include the original consultant, Bob Goble of Carter Goble Associates, Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, Sheriff Tim Hutchison, etc. These people should attend the forum and be available to answer questions from citizens in a public dialogue.
4. More than one public forum should be considered if one meeting is not enough to address all issues and concerns.
5. An impartial mediator should be appointed to moderate the public forum. This person would be a great asset to everyone and would restore the public faith in the process that has been lost.