Dec 19 2006
12:05 pm

Monday was a sad day in Knox County Commission. In one of the most confused meetings, that often resembled the Keystone Cops more than a Commission meeting, the Midway Industrial Park received 7.5 million dollars of funding from the Knox County Commission. This happened even though there is a lawsuit seeking an injunction against any breaking ground on this project. It was a tortured, confused, and often comical 45 minutes that made those who watched in person or on Cable Television wonder about the old joke of “Who is on first”?

The Midway Industrial Park is covered in great detail at the website KnoxAction.com. There have been many web posts on KnoxViews and at Say Uncle. It has received much coverage also at the News Sentinel blog No Silence. So with all of the known information that questions the risk and return on investment of taxpayer dollars the Knox County Commission chose to ignore the demands of those in the Thorn Grove community and the voice of taxpayers who see this as the biggest gamble since the Farmers Market.

The MPC hypocritically and perhaps illegally ignored their own sector plan to choose the Midway Industrial Park site. The Development Corporation chose to ignore its main requirement that the slope of the site no exceed six percent. Both of these entities and the Knox Area Chamber of Commerce ignored that this site had much greater financial return as a tourist area or subdivisions and that those ideas would not require over 57 million dollars of taxpayer investment.

More after the jump including YouTube coverage of the Knox County Commission meeting:

Most importantly all parties ignored that the Thorn Grove community is one giant karst sinkhole waiting to happen. This will literally be a black hole that money is poured into never to be seen again. The Ragsdale administration is its most irresponsible move yet has bragged that the Midway Industrial Park will create 4,600 jobs and bring over 12 million dollars a year of tax proceeds to Knox County government. That is an abject falsehood.

Lets review who will be around when this goes bad. Mayor Ragsdale is in his final term. So are Commissioners Griess, Leuthold, Hammond, Guthe, Schmid, Ivan Harmon, Cawood, Moore, Tindell, Strickland, Jordan, and Pinkston. The vote was 15-4 with only John Mills, Phil Ballard, Larry Clark, and Mark Harmon voting against funding the 7.5 million dollars for the Midway Industrial Park.

So you may see your government in action I have posted the entire Midway Industrial Park discussion on YouTube. I have done so to create a record of how this happened so in the future when this blows up in the face of the taxpayers you will know who was responsible. It is said that people deserve the government they get.

No one deserved this disaster.

YouTube coverage of the Knox County Commission meeting on the Midway Industrial Park:

Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4, Part5, Part6, and Part7

Rachel's picture

In one of the most confused

In one of the most confused meetings, that often resembled the Keystone Cops more than a Commission meeting

Sadly, this describe most Commission meeting. I once heard them argue for 30 minutes over whether or not they had previously approved $15M for a parking garage as part of the late, not-lamented "Justice Center."

edens's picture

Nope, my favorite commission

Nope, my favorite commission moment still has to be an angry John Mills informing Rudy Dirl that, when Mills was a wee lad, he would happily "play with black kids in Lonsdale even though it was against the law..."

Somehow, the discussion related to school funding

knoxnative's picture

Da Bird

The meeting where Mike Arms flipped John Mills a bird and said "F--k You" has to be somewhere near the top of all-time commission discussions. It happened just before a vote on whether to allow General Shale to open a new strip mine in the middle of a residential community. Arms got mad at Mills for something stupid, then said he would "get him" when the General Shale issue came up. Arms voted for General Shale and the resolution passed. One of commission's all time lows.

Rachel's picture

My personal favorite moment:

My personal favorite moment: In the early days of k2k, Shurf Tim had Dwight Van de Vate compile the emails from k2k about the downtown jail (out of order and context, BTW) into a binder which was personally delivered to Commissioners supporting the jail.

At the next Commission meeting, during public forum, some dude dressed in an outfit that was a cross between KKK robes and the Pope's garb got up and rambled on for ten minutes about how he had been persecuted by the Sheriff's office.

John Mills then asked him, "Are you one of these k2k?" Apparently he thought it was some kind of weird cult.

Hmmm.. John Mills seems to be a recurring theme here.

rikki's picture

breaking tradition

Mills and Ballard are the two commissioners from the district where the development is to occur. They both voted against the funding. What happened to the long-standing tradition of voting with the home-district commissioners? I guess it's not as strong a tradition as backing in to huge expenses and whoring off rural land.

Number9's picture

In Knox County there are two

In Knox County there are two things you hope you never find when you are building roads, sewer lines, or other utilities. The first is karst and the second is hard rock like marble.

While I feel bad for the people of Thorn Grove I feel just as bad for the people of Knox County. This will be so far over budget that it will have to be hidden from the public. The other problem is that when the problems happen the people responsible will be long gone.

The fact that the entire costs have not been disclosed is a harbinger of the future. A responsible government would have insisted on core drillings and a survey so a total cost could be determined. All connecting roads should have been part of the total project cost. This is incremental government at its worst.

I ask the informed readers, as time progresses, will we learn this was just a Trojan Horse to use taxpayer money to pay for sewers for subdivisions? Is this a form of redlining? Driving a wedge into a rural community so over time the original people are forced out as taxes rise and the community changes?

Wasn't Victor Ashe Park originally a proposed business park but later diverted to be a public park? The reason, there was no need for the business park at that location.

Our local government used to protect the people and the communities they live in. Now that government has become a predator that serves only a select group of developers.

But at least there is harmony between the City and County governments. Thank God for that since we are so much better off than in the past...

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