Feb 2 2021
10:41 am

The City of Alcoa originated in 1918 as the first planned community in the State of Tennessee. A planned community is any community that was carefully planned from its inception. In the original plans, Alcoa, Inc., included one acre of park space for every 100 city inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1924 approximately 300 shade trees were planted along city streets and parks. In addition, the City of Alcoa has a great school system that is being left behind with promises of more funding from new growth/development.

For the past 12 or so years the city managers, along with Blount County, Knox County, Maryville, and the State of Tennessee, have been spending a lot of money and effort to remake the City of Alcoa with uncontrolled growth and immense costs.

The first plan, in approx. 2008, was to build the Pellissippi Place Riverwalk at the Blount County end of Pellissippi Parkway.
"Blount and Knox Counties and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, Tennessee, invested $5 million each to buy and develop the site."
Twenty million dollars! What have they got so far? One business at the back of the site and a very large empty "R&D" park.

The second plan, in 2010, is to build a "bypass" around the 3 miles of Alcoa Hwy from Singleton Station Road to Hunt Road. This new road will be 6-8 lanes, taking 250+ acres of land, encroaching on the Springbrook community as well as negatively affecting the Northwood, Glenmore Estates, and Cedar Hill neighborhoods. In 2011 the estimate for this project was from $64 million to $100 million. In late 2020, the cost is estimated at $182 million. In other communities around the country and the world, highways are being transformed into gardens.

The third plan was/is to build a new Alcoa Town Center. In May, 2008, it was announced that the old Alcoa Aluminum Co. West Plant would be developed as a new downtown for the City of Alcoa. It's now 2021. For nearly thirteen years the City of Alcoa has been promoting a new urbanism town center. It is now 13 years later and what have they got so far? An almost complete hotel, discussion of a grocery store, and a discussion of the Texas Roadhouse moving from across the street. This is after the great plan for a Sam's Club that fell through. How does a Sam's Club fit into a downtown development? There is no reporting on how much this project has cost the City of Alcoa and it's citizens.

Now, they are selling a portion of what was until recently the Pine Lakes Golf course to build a "a 100-foot-tall, 634,812-square-foot building on approximately 89.49 acres east of Alcoa Highway" for a distribution facility where about 200 trucks will utilize the facility. The facility would be near the dangerous intersection of Alcoa Hwy. and Singleton Station Road. This project will cost millions because there is no infrastructure to enable the distribution center. The "total cost for all road updates will be over $15 million." The City of "Alcoa may have to commit more than $3.25 million in right-of-way and utility expenses. TDOT would end up paying nearly $13 million just for roadwork to support the warehouse."

The City of "Alcoa is dedicating a nearly $10 million bond to two large projects..." Part of the bond is for a $3.3 million payment for the wastewater treatment plant, operated by the city of Maryville, which would improve the plant, where Alcoa is a financial partner since it serves both cities’ residents. $6 million is an expenditure based on for the new distribution center. Blount County is also spending $6 million on the project.

This is on top of all the new housing projects and apartments being developed in Alcoa. Just recently, Alcoa annexed some land along Topside Road for 200 apartments.

Amidst all of this uncontrolled growth and enormous cost, the Alcoa City Schools are being left behind. "The school’s expansion and renovation plan went to bid in April 2019, coming in at $22.5 million, but has been on hold since [Alcoa City Manager Mark] Johnson said the city could not issue a bond for the project because funding was not available." More recently, Alcoa City Schools Director Becky Stone said City Manager Johnson suggested the bring in portable classrooms. She suggested to him that "we definitely don’t want that." There are promises that new development will fund the needed school expansion and renovations.

Is there a plan? What is the cost? How much more can we take? I understand growth. I lived in the Orlando, FL, area during a time of huge growth. However, there has to be a plan. There also has to be a limit on how much a town of 8,000 residents can spend.

yellowdog's picture

If there is a plan, it is a secret.

Growth is not a plan.

bizgrrl's picture

ProNova Solutions is the only

ProNova Solutions is the only commercial or residential entity to be developed in the Pellissippi Place R&D park. They are being "sued for about $550,000 in three different contract breaches and has a federal lawsuit pending."

Pellissippi Place is the $20 million development, funded by local governments, that has had no growth since inception, approximately in
10-12 years ago.

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