Nov 20 2008
08:21 am

I was looking at this Metro Pulse article about a house on Sevier Ave. that the City wants to take by eminent domain to build a roundabout for access to new condos on the river. I thought, that house looks familiar. Sure enough, it's the house I grew up in.

My parents bought it around 1956 when I was a little over one year old after renting for a while up the street on Sevier Ave. I think I remember them saying they paid about $5000 for it. It was the first house they ever owned. My Dad added on a space at the back where my Mom operated a neighborhood beauty shop for about 30 years before she retired. It was also convenient for my Dad, who worked at a downtown office which is no longer there of course.

I think the guy who owns it now is someone I knew from South High. He says the city is offering $96,000 and he thinks it's worth $180,000. I don't know about that, but all those houses along there have a lot of potential if the South Waterfront plan ever develops beyond the condos on the river.

It looks like the roundabout could be moved across the street to replace the screwed up intersection they built for the JWP project, or the next block over on Island Home and it would take some empty and/or less desirable properties. But those all happen to be owned by 531 Corp.

Anyway, this is very sad.

P.S. I remember specifically looking up this property on the maps and project diagrams presented at the public workshop wrapup presentation. The house was still there and I don't recall any roundabout.

UPDATE: The Mrs. and Rachel (in comments) both say I am mistaken about the roundabout. But the Mrs. notes that the property (lot 11) was still there as you can clearly see in this map:

(Source: This PDF at the City's project website.)

rikki's picture

My recollection from the

My recollection from the meeting a couple months ago is that there was a good bit of regrading associated with the roundabout, with Lincoln St being raised several feet. I believe the siting of the roundabout had a lot to do with the topography. Right now, there is that funky little uphill turn before you make a left onto Island Home, and the roundabout would smooth things out a bit.

It was more the regrading than the asphalt that was threatening that house and maybe one other, as I recall. None of that makes it any less sad, of course.

Rachel's picture

The roundabout has been in

The roundabout has been in the plan for quite some time, along with another at the end of the Gay Street Bridge.

R. Neal's picture

Rachel, you are correct. I

Rachel, you are correct. I remember the one at the Gay St. Bridge but not the one at Sevier/Island Home. The Mrs. looked it up, though, and the house/lot appears unaffected, which I distinctly recall because that was the first thing I looked for in the presentation drawings/maps on display. (See update to the post.)

jbr's picture

What happens to the Kerbela

What happens to the Kerbela temple one the South Waterfront is done? Was there ever a thought about putting a road thru where the Temple is now and connect it with the road that runs behind Shoneys? Pedestrian/bike friendly.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Oh my, I'd always thought your home was the one west of the white victorian. I never really noticed the one to the east because it is sheltered by trees. It is an extremely cute house. Who knew it had historical significance as well?

Diana C. told me some time back it would be taken for the roundabout but gave the impression the city would have it moved. Dave hill has talked from time to time about moving homes to preserve the neighborhood character. Now is an opportunity for the city to put its money where its mouth is.

"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse."

D Hill's picture

We might be able to move it, but no decisions have been made....

The roundabout has been shown for quite some time, and is included in the SW Vision Plan, adopted in April 2006. It is also true that the corner lot (#11) was also shown. There are 3 constraints working against us - grade differences, drainage concerns, and the Gulf & Ohio RR crossing to the south. We have looked at several alternative alignments, and all of them caused more problems than they solved. At this point, moving the house is still an option, although I'm unsure if the owner is willing to consider this.

We have spent considerable time trying to avoid removal of any structures. In the case of Barber Street between Phillips and Langford, we have eliminated some improvements to avoid getting too close to existing residences on either side. For the Sevier/Lincoln corner, we were not as fortunate in trying to find a solution. Condemnation continues to be considered an option of last resort, but we also knew (and ackowledged publicly) that some tough decisions would have to be made.

I still hope we can move the house. Sorry for sending an unverified e-mail (forgot my password).

Dave Hill

R. Neal's picture

I'm going to seek National

I'm going to seek National Register of Historic Places protection for the South Knox Bubba home place. Heh.

edens's picture

National register, actually,

National register actually won't do you much good (Most of the Fort, for example, was listed on the National Register sometime in the eighties). National Register really only allows access to rehab tax credits and makes TDOT or other agencies using Fed money jump through a few more hoops before tearing something down (the city, in this case, would probably have to add a few pages to the project's EIS). Private developers can still do whatever the base zoning allows.

Historic Overlay Zoning, on the other hand...

Frankly, as I've stated in the past, both should probably be a part of South Waterfront strategy.

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