Attorney, and bookseller at Union Ave Books
All cities want to attract new businesses that will provide its residents with well paying jobs. What qualities do you think a city should have to attract these kinds of businesses?
Knoxville has made great strides in recent years in amenities which make it an attractive place to both live and locate a business. As a city, we should continue our efforts in correcting urban blight, becoming more pedestrian and bike friendly, improving bus and trolley service, protecting our historic buildings and unique architecture, encouraging the arts, and highlighting our rich history. The expansion of linear parks and greenways that connect neighborhoods and the development of the Urban Wilderness has attracted people here both as visitors and residents. Calculated investments in these areas not only attract outside talent and businesses, but also encourage local talent and businesses to remain here. I want to help continue that progress.
What is the best use of the former St. Mary’s Hospital campus?
City Council has voted for this abandoned site to be the new headquarters for the KPD, Fire Department, and City Court. Considering the likelihood that the area otherwise would be vacant indefinitely and deteriorate, this appears to be the best available option, and I support it. As this will involve roughly only half the area, the remaining approximately 4 acres would be available for other uses. Lincoln Memorial University is interested in an existing office tower as a facility for their nursing program, and I would encourage that. The remaining area has great positive potential for the surrounding area, and an open process involving all stakeholders and the surrounding residents and neighborhoods is essential. A variety of options including possible mixed-use commercial, affordable housing and greenspace are among options that can be considered, with the possibility that more than one could be incorporated. Public input is of utmost importance.
What do you think are the best ways for the city to generate increased revenue?
Knoxville still has a great deal of blighted property, vacant lots, and surface parking which could be reclaimed, restored and put back on the tax rolls. This would provide more opportunities for both businesses and affordable housing. The City should continue a close dialogue with the business community, and mutually beneficial public/private partnerships should be explored and encouraged. Payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) and tax incremental financing (TIF) are among the tools that can be used, and when carefully and judiciously applied, can produce beneficial outcomes that enable a business to solidify itself at the outset with the City receiving an opportunity for increased revenue from a lower tax-generating site.