It's been six weeks since the remaining McClung warehouses caught on fire, resulting in their demolition. While the homeless men arrested for starting the fire are still awaiting charges from a grand jury, the city is already moving forward with plans for the site.
Make that, plans for the plans for the site.
The administration has just announced a public forum to collect input on what citizens do and don't want to happen on that long stretch of West Jackson Ave., so prominent from the interstate. Ostensibly, that input will be used to guide the RFP for development when the city issues it sometime this summer. So if you've got ideas, best mark your calendar for April 3. We'll see you there.
Full press release below:
PUBLIC FORUM SET ON WEST JACKSON AVENUE REDEVELOPMENTCity of Knoxville officials are inviting potential developers, advocates for downtown and anyone with a redevelopment idea, vision or suggestion to a public forum on how to proceed with reshaping the 500 block of West Jackson Avenue.The public forum will be at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, at the Southern Depot, 318 W. Depot Ave.A major fire in 2007, followed by another on Feb. 1 earlier this year, destroyed the five historic McClung Warehouses buildings that had once towered above the 500 block of West Jackson, between Gay Street and Broadway, near the Old City.The City had sought to return the warehouses from a long-standing blighted state back to productive use. Since the Feb. 1 fire, Mayor Madeline Rogero has reiterated the City's commitment to redeveloping all of the properties it owns on Jackson Avenue.City officials are seeking ideas for redevelopment of all publicly-owned properties between Gay Street and Broadway, which include both a Jackson Avenue parking lot as well as the properties acquired in November 2013 in a settlement with a bankruptcy trustee.Input from the April 3 forum will be used in guiding the City's issuance of a Request for Proposals, expected to go out this summer. Feedback gathered during the forum will be made public."While we anticipate a mix of uses - residential, retail and office - we're open-minded on how the properties might be redeveloped," said Bill Lyons, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer. "There is no preconceived plan for the 500 block."