Apr 11 2017

I would love a New Urbanist town center in the City of Alcoa. I really like the Northshore Town Center. We can only hope they do not destroy the vibe and beauty of the Alcoa community during this process.

The City of Alcoa originated in 1918 as the first planned community in the State of Tennessee. A planned community is any community that was carefully planned from its inception. In the original plans, Alcoa, Inc., included one acre of park space for every 100 city inhabitants. In addition, between 1918 and 1924 approximately 300 shade trees were planted along city streets and parks.

For nearly ten years the City of Alcoa has been promoting a new urbanism town center. So far we have nothing except the mass clearing of a beautiful stand of pine trees five years ago. It was said the trees were cut down to provide passersby a view of the developement, which initially only included a Sam's Club. Sam's Club is no longer on the horizon and who wanted to see a Sam's Club anyway?

Five years ago, as part of the growth plan city officials wanted to direct the new development traffic through the heart of Alcoa, Springbrook Park and community. The community worked hard and pulled together to prevent this from happening.

Besides the fact, seven years ago Pellissippi Place off of Old Knoxville Hwy (Maryville Pike) near Hunt Road opened with expectations for "for a combination of tech-based businesses and research companies, quality hotels and conference centers, residential dwellings, river features, biking-hiking trails and retail stores." As of now there may be two businesses in Pellissippi Place.

Yesterday, the City of Alcoa broke ground (again?) on the new (?) development, which is "the result of the partnership of the city, private developers and Arconic, formerly ALCOA Inc., to bring a combination of commercial, retail, office and residential offerings."

I want to be happy. But some of the "success" of this project is dependent on the first phase of a new eight lane road through Alcoa. The completion of this road is unacceptable, in my opinion.

I want to be happy. But if the first possible commercial business was going to be a Sam's Club, how can I think this development will be new urbanism?

I want to be happy. But "Under a development agreement Alcoa inked with ACDP in November, the city is responsible for managing all the infrastructure including streets, water, sewer, electric, storm drainage and street lighting." Is the city stretching their assets and capabilities too far?

We can only hope something good will eventually come from these ever changing plans.

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