Nov 24 2019
04:04 am

It's hard to conceptualize the three design options. Is there a video of the presentation?

I would like to see this and some other public like entities on the south waterfront instead of apartments.

Wow! First look at proposed Knoxville Science Museum

Sandra Clark's picture

Good question. Apparently,

Good question. Apparently, BarberMcMurry had only six weeks to develop seven concepts. The Clayton Family Foundation then selected three to present to the public.

Like much of city government lately, there seems to be an impending vote by city council, and then someone says, "Oops! Need public input." And a show-and-tell meeting is scheduled on the fly.

Don't worry about missing this meeting. It didn't matter.

michael kaplan's picture


When the city, with its ReCode, is talking about increasing density, it seems absurd to be promoting a suburban-style museum so close in to downtown, on a site that, if anything, should probably be used for high-density residential development.

Will this be another Regal Riviera-kind of project that, if it overruns its budget estimate, becomes the subject of a bond issue that enriches its investors? To whom is the land being 'transferred'? Is this the reason the city was in such a hurry to move the police to a site adjacent to a residential neighborhood? Will this turn out to be another Planetarium or Women's Basketball Hall of Fame?

Sandra Clark's picture

Questions best addressed to

Questions best addressed to your favorite member of city council.

barker's picture

A couple of answers

Here's my understanding of the deal.

The land will be transferred to the Clayton Family Foundation, which will be responsible for demolishing the Safety Building and assume all of the risk associated with developing the museum so the taxpayers aren't on the hook for anything.

The city was going to move out of the Safety Building no matter what. The first proposed location was on the back side of the Knoxville College campus, but the college's debt load was an impediment. Then St. Mary's became available, so the city made a deal for that location. The Police Department and Municipal Court won't be moving until the new public safety complex is complete. Barber McMurry's site planning was restricted by the need to keep the Safety Building open for approximately two years before KPD and the court could move. So the museum isn't speeding up the move.

Will the museum succeed or fail? Time will tell.

Hope this helps.

michael kaplan's picture

so the taxpayers aren't on

so the taxpayers aren't on the hook for anything.

... except the loss of a very large parcel of public land contiguous to downtown. I assume the museum will be a non-profit not generating tax revenue. So the only advantage to citizens will be an assumed increase in revenue from tourism and some service and maintenance jobs.

barker's picture


Well, you basically asked if the city taxpayers were at risk (specifically, you wondered about a bond issue) and the answer is no. Once the property is transferred, it's up to the Clayton Family Foundation to make it work. The property isn't on the tax rolls now, so there's not a loss. Should it have been sold to a developer instead? Argue away. I don't have a dog in that fight.

michael kaplan's picture

The city was represented by

The city was represented by Mayor Madeline Rogero’s two deputies – David Brace and Bill Lyons – who have led efforts to secure the project.

Frankly, I'd like to see the city's high-salary unelected officials deal with the Mondays, owners of mostly-empty properties along Chapman Highway that could be repurposed as emergency shelters to get the homeless and vagrant populations off the streets in this cold weather.

bizgrrl's picture

Depending on which

Depending on which properties, it would probably cost a pretty penny to update them for any purpose, but especially overnight housing.

fischbobber's picture


I thought the Monday family was liquidating their properties. What gives?

Treehouse's picture

I wish they would

Chapman Highway is ugly and stalled for improvement because of the Mondays. But we have plenty of homeless and affordable housing is being built. Chapman Highway needs to be cleaned up to invite property owners who care.

Up Goose Creek's picture


From the second article above:

"One resident standing at the podium saying that the council was not listening to the public, and that residents did not want the museum without a stronger agreement that keeps the community in mind.
“We need to make sure the building is actually sustainable, we want to make sure that the jobs that go into working and building it are actually living wage jobs. We want to make sure that the community is actually involved so we’re not just seeing a continuation of the urban renewal and gentrification and seeing more and more working class and black people being pushed out of the area.”"

I'm having a hard time connecting the dots. The housing that is near the site offers subsidized units. The way to keep affordable housing is to lobby the city, HUD, owners, ??? to keep subsidized units. I can't see how a children's museum would encourage gentrification. Especially compared to a mixed use or commercial development. I just don't see families from the 'burbs saying "let's move into a 2 BR apartment so we'll be near this museum". It hasn't happened with the Zoo and nearby Muse museum.

What I can see is children from the subsidized apartments taking advantage of the museum and expanding their horizons. How is this a bad thing?

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