The Tomato Head is closing its downtown Maryville restaurant with plans to open a new location in West Knoxville.

Vafaie and Partin said the decision to close Maryville was based on the opportunity to open a restaurant in West Knoxville, and they felt they didn't have "the human resources to manage three locations."

What can you say? They will be missed.

Topics:

The residents of the Springbrook community were given three no-win alternatives for access from the new Alcoa West Plant shopping center into the neighborhood. Residents joined together in a successful effort to prevent the developer and the City of Alcoa from making Alcoa Road, which intersects the community and the park, a thoroughfare. They were unsuccessful in convincing these two entities to not provide access to the community from any point.

The City of Alcoa Engineering Department projects 3,400 average daily trips into the community from the new shopping center, just in 2013 when the new development will only be partially built-out. This is approximately a 132 percent increase over current traffic on North Mills Street and a 100 percent increase on Alcoa Road (even with the Alternate A option).

We'll try to obtain the comment sheets so you can read for yourself residents' feeling towards this intrusion. The residents are not opposing growth, they just don't want it to affect their historic, quaint, peaceful, safe neighborhood. The Springbrook community and park are the best the City of Alcoa has to offer.

How is it the developer and the City of Alcoa can get away with not building the requisite roads to allow Springbrook to remain an oasis for the community? Is there anything the residents can do? Anyone to contact? Can this intrusion be stopped? If you have any suggestions, please let us know. In the meantime, write a letter to The Daily Times to express your opinion.

Sat
Apr 28 2012
07:05:am

A reminder on how long development projects can take. Kinsey Probasco Hayes, the commercial developer for the Alcoa West Plant project, announced the plan to redevelop the site in May, 2008.

“In the next six to nine months we should be in a position to begin development,” said Jon Kinsey, former Chattanooga mayor and president of Kinsey, Probasco, Hays. “It is right at the entrance to the Knoxville airport and it is surrounded by two significant highways, so we feel it is an opportunity to really do something world class for that area and provide a new downtown for the city of Alcoa, which does not have one presently.”

Four years later they might get started on the traditional retail portion of the redevelopment. How long will it take to get to the New Urbanist, mixed-use, town center part?

As a result of the City of Alcoa and Kinsey Probasco Hayes (KPH) proposals to redevelop the Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site, many questions have arisen regarding corrective action due to the possible hazardous substance on the site after the plant closed in the 1980s. The answers are not clear. These questions lead to more questions about why the developers insist on staying on the perimeter of this site for the initial development. Staying on the perimeter is forcing the developer to build an access road to the Springbrook community, which residents of the community do not want. Why can't the developers build a loop road? Could it be because they are hoping to put off developing the brownfield sections of this site due to the higher cost of additional remediation? Thus, are they willing to place the negative impact of high traffic counts on the Springbrook community to save themselves some effort and money?

"Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands."

The Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site in on the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation, Div. of Remediation, List of Inactive Hazardous Substance Sites.

To try and clarify the status of this site, we contacted the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Division of Remediation.

According to TDEC, the perimeter of the West Plant site, where the first phase of the traditional retail development (along with the new road) is planned, was primarily farm land not requiring remediation.

Other areas of the West Plant site, e.g. where the actual plant was located, have the suspected brownfields, says TDEC. Based on the discussion, the site was remediated for decommissioning many years ago. This means the site was cleaned up enough for it to sit there and not be used. Once a developer proposes to use this site for redevelopment, e.g. mixed-use commercial, traditional retail, or any other use except for no use at all, the developer must create a plan to present to TDEC. TDEC must approve any plans for development of the site. TDEC must be involved in the process.

The City of Alcoa and KPH must bring a different company to do the clean up. It has been reported that International Risk Group (IRG) has been selected for managing the clean up process. We are told by TDEC there currently is not a plan. An agreement is in the works and IRG is meeting with TDEC, but it is still in the draft stage. In addition, the initial agreement IRG works out with TDEC will be an agreement to make additional plans once IRG/KPH/City of Alcoa picks each site within the West Plant to develop. Each phase of development will require a detailed environmental remediation plan, which will vary depending on the planned use and type of remediation required.

In a recent article in The Maryville Daily Times (April 13, 2012) by Iva Butler reporting on a recent City of Alcoa Commission meeting, the Alcoa City Manager was quoted saying, "The city of Alcoa has the reputation of being the most expensive city to build in." Is it possible the clean up of parcels of the Alcoa Aluminum company plant is why he said this? I sent him an email and letter asking why he said this. No response has been forthcoming. Is there no other land in the CiIty of Alcoa available for growth? Is traditional retail development the type of growth needed?

To summarize, if brownfield areas at the West Plant site are to be redeveloped (e.g. New Urbanist mixed-use, traditional retail, or any use at all except undisturbed), it could cost a lot of money. There is a 40 acre slab on the site where residents have been told will be the development of a new town center. How do you build on an existing slab of concrete? What about utilities, plumbing, sewers, etc.? According to TDEC, the slab would have to be dealt with, it could have to come out.

Why is it the residents of Springbrook must suffer when developers can't afford to do a project right?

Fri
Apr 27 2012
11:36:am

During the ten years or so we have lived in the City of Alcoa, we have found city government to be open and responsive. From building a home here to dealing with routine issues that arise from time to time, we have dealt with just about every city department (except, thankfully, the fire department), and have always found the city's employees and department heads to be qualified, highly professional and forthright.

Recently, though, we have experienced some frustration with the city administration regarding large scale projects with wide-reaching impacts on the community.

Starting with the Alcoa Highway bypass project and now with the West Plant Town Center impact on the Springbrook community, the city seems to be taking an "our way or the highway" approach (or, more accurately, "our way IS the highway.")

(See here for an overview of the bypass project issues, and here for an overview of issues with the Town Center project.)

The city administration is making plans based on short-sighted decisions with long-term negative impacts to the community, and they are reluctant to consider citizen input that might be contrary to the predetermined outcome.

In fact, they have become openly hostile. One city official accused Springbrook community organizers of being "unethical" and trying to "rig the vote" on a preferred access route for the Town Center development. When asked for copies of public comments about the proposals, a city official refused, accusing organizers of wanting to carry out "vendettas" against those who agreed with the city's preference. Another city official told a resident she was "out of line" when she tried to clarify his remarks at a public meeting about the project.

This is not the hallmark of good local government.

To their credit, the city is seeking public input on the projects (as required by state and federal law on the bypass project, and presumably in the public interest on the Town Center project). They're just not listening when they don't like what they hear.

There are also concerns about the apparent lack of any detailed planning or organization, particularly with the Town Center project. And the bypass project keeps changing, even after "final" approval by state and federal officials. Questions are met with misleading and inconsistent public information, which does not inspire confidence.

Part of the reason for this may be complacency. Alcoa has had basically the same Board of Commissioners and Mayor for decades. The long-time City Manager, who has virtually unlimited powers, serves at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners and is answerable only to them, not voters.

The elected, part-time Commissioners are ultimately responsible for approval and oversight, but are not generally involved in the city's day to day planning and operations, which are the responsibility of the unelected City Manager who is generally well-regarded in the community. They routinely "rubber stamp" city business with little or no deliberation.

Commissioners rarely draw opposition at election time, and city voter turnout is historically low, suggesting general satisfaction with the way things are being run.

It's possible that city officials are surprised that citizens are organizing, speaking up and questioning their decisions. Maybe they're not quite sure what to do.

This is an opportunity for the Mayor and Board of Commissioners to lead. It's an opportunity for them to speak up and communicate their vision for the community beyond just chamber of commerce approved soundbites in the local paper.

Moreover, it's an opportunity for Commissioners to represent the community that elected them instead of developers in Chattanooga, asphalt suppliers in Knoxville and road builder lobbyists in Nashville.

Failing that, perhaps it's time for a change in leadership.

The City of Alcoa is accepting comments until close of business today on the proposed road alignments into Springbrook for the Alcoa West Plant shopping center. Here is the form (PDF).

Completed forms must be submitted to the Alcoa Public Works & Engineering Department at 725 Universal Street, Alcoa, Tennessee 37701 no later than today, 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 27, 2012.

Call 865-380-4800 regarding information shared during the meetings. (Note: here is the information handout from the meeting that explains the project and the alternatives being considered.) Comment sheets must be submitted individually. Submitted comments sheets will become public records and subject to public review if requested pursuant to the Tennessee Open Records Act.

Fri
Apr 27 2012
07:14:am

Many thanks to the City of Alcoa for their peoples' time and their facilities to present information on the proposed Alcoa West Plant redevelopment. A two hour meeting was held on March 15. After input from local residents, the city provided an open house on April 24 and 25 for a total of 20 additional hours enabling more residents to learn about the project. In addition, we would like to thank the city for not hindering the efforts of residents to spend the entire two days at the City Service Center so these residents could add a concerned citizen point of view to the open house discussion.

After spending four hours at the second day of the City of Alcoa open house to answer questions on the new Alcoa Aluminum West Plant development project, the one thing that rang true was that nothing is definite, except for a road being planned around one side of the perimeter and the interest of one retailer. It is being projected that a traditional retail center (think strip mall) will be along this new roadway. Sometime in the future (think 10-20 years) there is hope for a New Urbanist development in the center of the site with some sort of housing (townhomes, condos, single-family residential) along the Springbrook community side.

The Alcoa West Plant site is approximatley 300 acres, about the size of the Turkey Creek commercial development in West Knoxville.

City presenters gave background on the project developer, Kinsey Probasco Hayes, Chattanooga, TN, as the developer who re-did Chattanooga and made it great. Keep in mind the Chattanooga project is nothing like the Alcoa West Plant project. There are very few single-family home residences (not townhomes/condos) near the Chattanooga Riverfront redevelopment, definitly nothing like the Springbrook community. In addition, it was suggested to visit the KPH website to see projects they have developed. I was surprised to find there were no projects on the scale of the Alcoa West Plant development and nothing really of a New Urbanist development except for rehabbing existing facilities.

Surprisingly, city representatives kept indicating they were not familiar with the Northshore Town Center project. Whereas, they are selling a development very similar to Northshore Town Center only ten miles away.

One point during the open house the city representatives did get across is that the developer can do what they want with the site. Specifically, if they do not want to build a loop road (due to cost, whatever) to eliminate the need for an egress to the Springbrook community they do not have to.

Depending on who you spoke with from the City of Alcoa, the information varied. In speaking with upper management last week, we were told it might be possible to have a fourth option, much less invasive, for the backdoor access out of the new developement. At this meeting we were told that the fourth option was not possible based on information that should have been known prior to last week's meeting. All along it has been reported the City of Alcoa would be paying $2 million for part of the initial road project to get this development jump-started. Yesterday, citizens were being told the city would not have to put out $2 million, the developer would cover that cost. However, it was cleared up towards the end of the day, after numerous people had been told differently, that the City of Alcoa would be ponying up $2 million. One the first day of the open house, there was talk about the brownfield (potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant) on the site and the care that must be taken to develop certain areas. On this second day, it was mentioned that one of the alleged brownfields was in fact not a brownfield.

The City Manager said it will take four years to make back the $2 million spent by the city for the road. He said the sales tax generated by the business(es) in the new retail center will bring in the payback. They probably said something similar when selling the Pellissippi Place development. What have we got to show for that investment?

Several people questioned the effect on property values. City representatives are unable to answer this question, understandably so. One woman in particular was preparing to put her high-end house on the market this week. At her realtors suggestion, she came in specifically to determine if any proposed changes would affect buyers interest in her house. She is hoping the signs by residents protesting the shopping center access to Springbrook will go away.

One fear brought up by many residents was the additional traffic will likely not obey the speed limit and bring dangerous situations to the many children that play freely in all areas of the Springbrook community and park. Existing problems were reported on Hunt Road, Mills Street, and Wright Road. One resident, a pediatric emergency room nurse, was very concerned with the possibility of accidents resulting in more ER visits. The city spokesmen indicated any problem now or in the future should be reported to the City of Alcoa Police Department. City Administration has no conrol over traffic habits. However, it would seem that traffic patterns designed by the City Administration does give them some control over traffic habits. If you divert traffic to an area that is not meant to have high levels of traffic, then it is the City Administration that is initiating the problem that the police must then correct. Does the City of Alcoa Police Department have enough staff to protect residents and control traffic habits now? What is being budgeted for the future when this development will possibly attract much more traffic to Alcoa roads? Currently, they are projecting over 10,000 average daily trips in 2013 to this new development. Of those, 33.3% (3,400) are projected to use the Springbrook community access.

One promise made three times during the final hours of the open house was that, "if the neighborhood wanted the access road to Springbrook torn out after the new TDOT Hunt Road interchange was completed, it could happen". FYI, the TDOT Hunt Road interchange is expected to be completed in 5-8 years.

The one thing I found out from attending this open house is that there is no real plan for this development except for a $5 million road and the hope for a new traditional retail center in the next year or so. After that, there is nothing definite as to how this site will be developed. There is hope for a New Urbanist town center, but it would appear plans for that type of development are on the back burner. Anyone want to record their thoughts as to what will be on this site in 5-10-20 years?

The Alcoa Aluminum Company West Plant Redevelopment plan is no plan at all. The lack of funding by the City of Alcoa, Kinsey Probasco Hayes, and the Alcoa Aluminum Company for the development is being put on the shoulders of the Springbrook community.

Based on the numbers in the plan document, approximately 10,281 average daily trips are projected in 2013 for the new traditional retail development.

3,427 approx. average daily trips (33.3% of total) in 2013 are projected to exit into the Springbrook community access on Mills Street (either between Hoopes/Frary, direct to Frary, or direct to Alcoa Road)

Of these 3,427 average daily trips into the Springbrook community, they project for 2013:

60% (2,399) will head North on Mills Street for a total of 4,216 average daily trips.
This is an increase of 132% over the current 1,817 average daily trips.

33% (720) will head South on Mills Street for a total of 2,350 average daily trips.
This is an increase of 47% over the current 1,630 average daily trips.

7% (308) will use Alcoa Road for a total of 515-566 average daily trips.
This is an increase of 119% over the current 258 average daily trips.

This is, of course, assuming their projections are correct.

There are not definite plans for the new West Plant development. According to everyone at the City of Alcoa we speak with (Kinsey Probasco Hayes won't return our calls), anything is subject to change. One thing we do know, they do not have the funds nor the commitment to develop this project in the manner compatible with the Springbrook community. If they did, they would not force an egress on the Springbrook community.

They are selling a bill of goods to get this project jump started. They are only telling the people a little at a time. They have no idea what will end up in this traditional retail shopping center. There may never be a New Urbanism portion with mixed-use. The only thing that will happen in this retail center is what will make the developer money at the expense of the Springbrook community. The developer doesn't care enough about the surrounding community to build a loop road as has been done elsewhere. The developer wants to save money by putting the cost on the Springbrook community.

The current retailer the City of Alcoa is dangling in front of our noses surely won't be a grocer, doctor's office, drug store, Target, WalMart, K-Mart or any other type of retail establishment useful to the community. It was reported the retailer will bring shoppers from all over the area. Well, shoppers won't come here for any of these stores I mentioned since they are all already saturated in Knox and Blount Counties.

Remember Pellissippi Place on Old Knoxville Highway right next to the Jackson Hills neighborhood? How much money did the City of Alcoa commit to this project? $5 million? More? It was supposed to have mixed-use development as well. Five plus years later, what do they have? Nothing. Disruption for the Jackson Hills community is so far the only result. They had a "plan" to close the Jackson Hills Road entrance into the neighborhood once the project became developed. It's a good thing they didn't since they had to close the main entrance into Pellissipi Place to redo some infrastructure. That's what you call planning.

How much is the City of Alcoa committing to this project? $2 million? $5 million? What result will taxpayers get? Another empty or partially built development like Pellissippi Place, Hamilton Crossing, Hunters Crossing?

Springbrook residents are getting out the word. They want people to know their neighborhood does not need to be a part of a massive new traditional retail development. WATE (Channel 6) News Reporter Samantha Saracino reported on the situation last night.

The effort is not to stop progress but to keep progress from marching through our neighborhood. Let it drive around us not through us," explained [Stephanie] Moffitt, [who lives on Alcoa Road].

"It might be minimal in the beginning, but as traffic builds within the retail center this community will cease to exist as we know it today and our park will be severed," Moffitt said.

WVLT (Channel 8) also reported on the issue.

"We just need to pick one and get it moving. We've got retailers that are interested and they need to know an opening date for the roadway," said City Manager Mark Johnson. "Whichever one they (the community) think is best in the short term and long term is what we'll go with."

Why is this traditional retail development dependent on a roadway to the Springbrook community? Other shopping centers (Hamilton Crossing and Hunters Crossing in Alcoa, Northshore Town Center in Knoxville at Pellissippi Parkway and Northshore Drive, Turkey Creek in Knoxville) don’t have direct access to surrounding neighborhoods.

Why did the city exclude community preference from this previous meeting? 55 % of the response/feedback of the community from the first meeting indicated there should be no access to Alcoa Road. City managment refused to accept a portion of the citizen input.

Sun
Apr 22 2012
11:53:am

City of Alcoa engineers will be available to discuss the new "traditional retail center" proposed for the Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site between Hall Road and Mills Street on the West side of the Springbrook community.

Information will be provided by the City of Alcoa regarding the proposed street connection to the Springbrook neighborhood along Mills Street (Note: at Hoopes Street, Frary Street, Alcoa Road).

Mills Street will temporarily serve as the secondary entrance to the initial phase of the development until the Hunt Road / Alcoa Highway intersection is improved as part of the Alcoa Parkway Project. (Note: Although, according to the City Manager, Mark Johnson, this is not a temporary entrance. It is only temporary for getting traffic to Hunt Road and Alcoa Highway. This secondary entrance is permanent. In addition, it will "temporarily" serve as access to Hunt Road/Alcoa Highway for 5-8 or more years.)

Open house schedule:
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 from 9 AM to 8 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 from 9 AM to 6 PM

City of Alcoa Service Center
725 Universal Street
Alcoa, Tennessee 37701
(865) 380-4800

MAKE SURE YOUR INPUT IS REGISTERED.

Additional Community Information:

  • There is no guarantee the City Mayor, City Commissioners, or the City Manager will be on site if you visit the open house.

  • You will more than likely have no opportunity to discuss the project with your fellow Springbrook residents since this is an open house lasting two days and fifteen hours total.

  • Ensure you question the Average Daily Trip Generation to exceed 34,000 for the new traditional retail center (e.g. strip mall). What percentage of that are they projecting for the Springbrook neighborhood access? 10% (3,400 trips/cars)? Compare that to the current traffic counts on Alcoa Road, Frary St, Hoopes St. 25 cars/day? 50 cars/day? 100 cars/day?

  • Ensure you question the ""New Urbanist walkable mixed use community" with "town square" they are promising. How far in the future do they predict such a community will be realized? Ten years? Twenty years? As of right now, the only near term commitment is for the traditional retail center.

  • What entrance will the construction traffic use?

  • Other shopping centers (Hamilton Crossing and Hunters Crossing in Alcoa, Northshore Town Center in Knoxville at Pellissippi Parkway and Northshore Drive, Turkey Creek in Knoxville) don’t have direct access to surrounding neighborhoods. Why should this development have direct access to historic, quaint, peaceful , family oriented Springbrook?

  • If access is required (possibly due to a plane crash at the Hall Road access, per the City Manager Mark Johnson), ask why they can't move the access to the top of Mills Street as close to Hunt Road as possible to avoid Springbrook as much as possible? Say no to Alternates A, B, and C. Request Community Suggested Alternate D at the top of Mills Street.

  • 55 % OF ORIGINAL RESPONDENTS INDICATED THERE SHOULD BE NO ACCESS TO ALCOA ROAD.

  • 73% OF ORIGINAL RESPONDENTS WANT TO PROTECT THE SPRINGBROOK NEIGHBORHOOD AND PARK.

Springbrook residents, protect your neighborhood!
It's not too late.

Sat
Apr 21 2012
07:16:pm


Spotted in the yard of Alcoa resident Mike Stiehl

Residents of Alcoa's Springbrook community are drawing a yellow line in the sand to protest the city's proposal to make their quiet neighborhood a thoroughfare for a proposed shopping center.

Signs accompanied by yellow crime scene tape are springing up all over the neighborhood. Residents aren't opposed to development, they would just prefer it to be more responsible and more respectful of their nearly century old community.

More to come....


Resident Gary Hatfield working on his sign. Hatfield is opposed to making Alcoa Rd. a thoroughfare for the shopping center and says a roundabout at the north end of Mills St. would make more sense.


More yellow tape.

UPDATE: More signs...

UPDATE: City of Alcoa to hold open house presentations on project...

PREVIOUSLY: Residents say no to Springbrook Community Alcoa Road access from new shopping center

The Daily Times front page article reports on Tuesday's Alcoa City Commission meeting, "Residents oppose plan; Springbrook residents fear more traffic on Alcoa Road."

Charging a lack of transparency, a standing-room-only crowd at Alcoa City Commission Tuesday night expressed their displeasure with the plan to use Alcoa Road to funnel traffic from the 350-acre West Plant development until the main road system is installed.

It’s almost as if the City of Alcoa is pitting residents in different areas of the Springbrook community against each other.

Springbrook residents who felt left out of the process showed up in force at last night's Alcoa City Commission meeting to protest designating a street through Springbrook Park as a thoroughfare for a planned retail development.

Why does there need to be access to the Springbrook community at all?

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. This type of planning has gone by the wayside.

Commercial development is growing without much thought toward green space, pedestrian accessibility, or preservation of the beauty and livability of Alcoa. Fifteen years or so ago, the Hunters Crossing shopping center was built with nearly fifty acres of parking lots and virtually no green space. Approximately five years ago, the Hamilton Crossing shopping center was developed with the possibility of nearly forty acres of parking lots and, again, virtually no green space. The automobile traffic in these two shopping areas is very heavy. Luckily for the citizens there is no through road access from either of these shopping centers to residential areas.

Currently, the City of Alcoa is working with a developer to build commercial and mixed-use properties at the old Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site that borders the west side of the Springbrook community and Hall Road. The West Plant development site appears to be larger than the Hunters Crossing and Hamilton Crossing shopping centers combined. Depending on the final site plan, the development could include up to 200 acres and who knows how much of these will be parking lots. In addition, no information on traffic counts has been forthcoming.

The City of Alcoa and the project developer, KPH Development (Kinsey Probasco Hays), out of Chattanooga, TN, want to enable “temporary” access from this possibly very large commercial development into the historic Springbrook community. At this time they not only want to provide access to Springbrook, they want to give direct access to Alcoa Road, thus turning Alcoa Road into a through street from the commercial development all the way through the Springbrook community, through the middle of Springbrook Park, to Wright Road. The term temporary is vague in that the temporary access is dependent on state and/or federal funds to build a new Hunt Road interchange, which could be 5-8 years or more in the future (actually it is totally undetermined when the interchange might be built and it is unfunded).

The City of Alcoa held a meeting for citizen input for this project on March 15, 2012, from 5 to 7 PM. It was expressed that the post cards mailed to citizens of the Springbrook community were misleading as was the ad placed in the local newspaper. The majority of the respondents to this meeting were from the North West sector of the Springbrook community, which primarily would be affected by the initially planned access point between Frary Street and Hoopes or an alternate access point at Frary Street.

Residents on the East side of Springbrook reported they did not initially understand from the notice that Alcoa Road was a consideration, but subsequently contacted the City of Alcoa with their comments once they realized Alcoa Road was to be made a thoroughfare. In all, 105 residents responded to the request for comments from the City of Alcoa. Of those, the City of Alcoa only considered seventy-nine. Input from twenty-six of these citizens was not considered for various reasons, e.g. the citizen did not attend the meeting, someone else dropped off the citizen input form, or the citizen wrote comments indicating their preference instead of marking one of the three solutions.

Twenty-five or so residents of the Springbrook area and Alcoa citizens who felt they would be affected by the Alcoa Road access attended the City of Alcoa Commission meeting Tuesday, April 10, 2012, to express their comments verbally regarding this turn of events.

Eight or more people spoke to the Commission explaining their concerns that this access will bring increased traffic, reduce safety, and take away from the integrity of the community. The applause after some of the speakers indicated the majority in attendance were in agreement that Alcoa Road should not be used as an access point to the Springbrook community.

Following are some of the comments and concerns expressed by citizens at the meeting:

  • Nothing is on the City of Alcoa website regarding this project.
  • Concern with lack of transparency – transparency is key.
  • What are the benefits to this access?
  • Notification of meeting was misleading.
  • Comment forms not made available except to meeting attendees.
  • Objection to process of interpreting input from citizens.
  • Clearly overwhelming sentiment by residents is to avoid Alcoa Road as a connector to the new shopping area.
  • Preservation of the neighborhood and park for the use of all citizens.
  • Preservation of a quiet, safe neighborhood and park.
  • Request that a TDOT representative attend the next meeting.
  • Disappointed in the city for making plans without a full disclosure.
  • City engineers were contacted for current and projected traffic counts. Surprised when they had nothing to provide.
  • Hall Community is also concerned with the new shopping center development.
  • Wright Road has become more dangerous after the opening of the Alcoa Service Center. There is more through traffic driving faster, larger trucks, and Wright road has become dangerous.
  • There are few, if any, shopping centers that have through roads to surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Has a traffic study been completed?
  • Faraday Street: Why is this not a solution? Is it because it does not include any TDOT/Federal money?
  • There are no residences on Faraday Street. There is room to expand. It provides access to Wright Road.
  • It is possible the new commercial development and more specifically any “mixed use” development will take many years to build out, resulting in an unfinished area similar to Hamilton Crossing (over by PetSmart) and Hunters Crossing (over by Lowes). This too can have a negative impact on the Springbrook community.
  • Will pedestrians be left out of consideration for Springbrook and the new shopping development as they have been at Hamilton Crossing? There has been no consideration made at Hamilton Crossing to assist pedestrians to get from the Michaels/PetSmart side of the shopping area across Hamilton Crossing Drive to the restaurants (Panera, Chilis, Olive Garden, Cheddars), etc. Does this give an indication of how pedestrians in Springbrook look to be treated in the future?
  • Does the City of Alcoa have the funds to support this new project in the manner to make it compatible with the Springbrook community and the original planning for the City of Alcoa? The City of Alcoa is planning to match a $2 million TDOT grant for the access to Springbrook, but doesn’t have the money to maintain the schools and is asking for a sales tax increase. How much additional money will the City of Alcoa be committing to this development?
  • Per Mark Johnson, City Manager, it is not too late to change road plans.

The community meeting was held on March 13, 2012. Residents had until March 27 to turn in comment sheets. The comments sheets were reviewed, tabulated, and made available on March 29. During this entire time the City of Alcoa was aware of the discontent of residents by the possibility of Alcoa Road being made a thoroughfare. Less than two weeks later (10 business days), Mark Johnson said the plans for Alcoa Road to be a through road are drawn, but can be redone. Why did they proceed with these plans knowing a growing number of citizens were concerned and did not want the Alcoa Road access option?

It has been brought to the attention of local citizens that commercial development and shopping centers are evolving. At an April 4, 2012 meeting in South Knoxville regarding a new apartment complex, the developer commented that condos were not feasible at this time. He went on to say, “Condos are not financeable.” In West Knoxville, a commercial broker for the Market Place Shopping Center on Kingston Pike said with the rise of Internet shopping, the role of shopping centers is evolving "and there are less big box players out there to fill shopping centers." Most recent tenants for that shopping center include Planet Fitness and Battlefield Knoxville (a laser tag-style attraction).

As declared by the City of Alcoa, Mills Street will “temporarily” serve as the secondary access to the initial phase of the development until the Hunt Road/Alcoa Highway intersection is improved as part of the Alcoa Parkway Project.

Why do they need a “temporary” secondary access?

Why not Faraday Street?

Why does there need to be secondary street access at all?

Update: The Daily Times front page article reports on Tuesday's Alcoa City Commission meeting, "Residents oppose plan; Springbrook residents fear more traffic on Alcoa Road."

Fri
Mar 23 2012
01:57:pm

Driving by the other day, I noticed the Buddys Bar-B-Q at 4030 Alcoa Highway near Singleton Station Road has closed. The restaurant was in a building with an Aztex Fuel center and convenience store. I called Buddys corporate in Knoxville to find out why they closed. They said it was because the convenience store closed. Had nothing to say about why it closed. Tried to find out why the Aztex Fuel center closed but as of yet can find no phone number or corporate office for them. Tried another store but they knew nothing.

If you want Buddys Bar-B-Q, just go to the stand-alone store near Foothills Mall at 531 Foothills Plaza Dr, on the left past Hastings Bookstore.

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Deadline: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You want input on how the new proposed shopping development on Hall Road will affect the historic Springbrook neighborhood?

Don't delay!

Please take the time to contact Kenny Wiggins or Andrew Sonner, 865-380-4800, at the Public Works and Engineering Dept. to obtain your form and give some input.

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