|August 24, 2009 - The City of Knoxville is hosting a public meeting on proposed sidewalk improvements for portions of Market Street and Union Avenue in downtown.
The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 1, in the East Tennessee History Center Auditorium. The aim is to present some design concepts and get public input on the material.
Hedstrom Design, a Knoxville landscape architecture firm, was hired by the city earlier this year to develop plans for improvements to the sections of sidewalk on Market Street between Cumberland Avenue and Church Street and on Union Avenue between Gay Street and Market Streets.
“Hedstrom Design has put together some different options and what we want to do is let the public weigh in on the various design ideas,” said Anne Wallace, with the city’s Department of Policy & Communications. “Then we’ll adjust the design accordingly and make a final decision.”
Wallace said it’s unclear exactly when work would start but it could be within the next few months. She and Director of Public Works, Steve King, will moderate the public meeting.
Both sections of sidewalk, while short, are important because they serve as entrances to Market Square, the heart of downtown and the scene of numerous public events ranging from concerts like the Sundown in the City series to plays to several day events like Christmas in the City and the Dogwood Arts Festival.
The city has wanted to renovate those sections of sidewalk for some time. Wallace said both have some accessibility issues, particularly the section of sidewalk along Market Street, which is narrow and buckling in some places. The north sidewalk on Union, as it approaches Gay Street, is also very narrow in spots.
“They are in very poor repair and we want to address the safety, accessibility and aesthetic issues in the new design,” Wallace said.
On Market the city is looking at, “more on street parking, new trees appropriate for the existing built environment, decorative fencing next to the parking lot adjacent to the sidewalk and a decorative pattern for the sidewalk,” she said.
On Union Avenue the city would like to widen the northern sidewalk and add some decorative pavement and additional trees.
“We really want these sidewalks to function better for all pedestrians,” Wallace said.