Letters to the editor:
After 10 years of witness to West Knoxville development, I couldn't really think of downtown revitalization as anything a Knoxvillian would take seriously. Jack Neely's article about urban living as the best retirement plan presented an approach I hadn't heard before, but I am familiar with the concept.
Having lived many years in Boston's Back Bay, I do recall many times neighborhood vitality was saved by retirees. Retiring to the city was for closeness, to doctor and dentist, park and church. Appointments were met. The retiree was close to church if church assistance was needed.
The elderly were not the mobile professionals, ready to relocate. No, the retirees you saw every day were the mainstay of anyone organizing a lecture. They were the ones who kept a local restaurant open by making it a traditional meeting place. These residents knew an interesting location would attract visits from grandkids and old friends. People sought to have an interesting community. Of course, a fun city costs more to live in. Older folks knew the value of a free walk along the Charles River.
Imagine a proposal that might say, "Downtown revitalization is the best assisted living we could offer seniors! Let them make the path and we will follow."
Not Just Me and Tiger
On Jack Neely's article [Jan. 24 Secret History] concerning youth golf:
First, I'm not the developer of the Wee Course at Williams Creek. I'm merely one of several volunteers who formed a non-profit entity called WC2. The real leader of this endeavor has always been Jim Bush, chairman of Johnson and Galyon. He and I have worked together for the last four years with a varied cross section of folks in the community to make this dream a reality. Those include, but are certainly not limited to, Sam Anderson, Doug Bataille, Joe Armstrong, Tom Jones, Sam Newgent, Sam McKenzie, Annie Jones, Lee Miracle, Leroy Thompson and, of course, the late Jim (Cap) Hardin. There are others, too, and I am somewhat reluctant to list anyone for fear of excluding someone, but I just wanted you to be aware that this is not one man's effort.
Second, a clarification: First Tee is an organization in which the Tiger Woods Foundation is one of many participants. The USGA, the PGA Tour, the PGA of America, the LPGA, Augusta National Golf Club and others have all joined to create "points of access" for kids at risk in communities across the country so that they can learn the values of the game. Tiger is obviously an important factor in that equation, but the others should be acknowledged.
I saved the [Jan. 24] article about the Fort [Sanders] until Wednesday, because I knew after I read it I was going to have to write a letter. I hoped by waiting I'd be less inclined to send it. Obviously, I'm not. I love the Fort. I love the trash, the homeless people, the stairs to nowhere. I love the empty lots, the reading tree, Vic and Bills and how all my friends lived there at one time or another.
I fell in love in the Fort, I fell down, I stole a deer head out of a dumpster, I found all my furniture on the street. I finally had to move out because it hurt so much to watch everything coming down, burning, destroyed.
Every time the faceless yuckies conquered something, I went and stole a piece, I have a "Fort collection" on my walls in my new apartment. Window frames, bathroom mirrors, shrapnel and photographs, a living history of the neighborhood that welcomed me with open arms as college became a brick wall.
When I drive through the Fort now, it feels like visiting a loved one's hospital room. Guilt for not having come before, for having abandoned it, assaults me. The light on Clinch is always red for me now because it knows I left, I gave up.
The Fort is not dead, it's just that "everything changed, then changed again."