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VOL. 42 | NO. 23 | Friday, June 8, 2018

Ware Manufacturing announces expansion

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Ware Manufacturing, Inc., which manufactures and distributes pet products in Surgoinsville, is expanding is creating 32 new jobs and investing $1.1 million.

“I thank Ware Manufacturing on its decision to expand in Surgoinsville,” says Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner. “Since 2011, Hawkins County has had 15 projects resulting in the creation of more than 900 jobs.’’

Ware Manufacturing, Inc. is an industry leader in the manufacturing and distribution of new and innovative products for pets. With this expansion, Ware Manufacturing will expand its current operations in Surgoinsville’s Phipps Bend Industrial Park to make room for new equipment and growing demand.

Advance opens second Johnson City store

Nashville-based Advance Financial has opened its second store in Johnson City, celebrating with a donation to Johnson City Boys and Girls Club.

The Advance Financial Foundation donated $1,000 to the nonprofit.

Advance has aggressively invested in expanding its market presence in recent years with customized proprietary technology to deliver instant lending. The company has plans to expand their multi-state digital technology services into a total of 20 states by the end of 2018.

Forestry center opens in Crossville

Crossville has a new forestry work center. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture opened the work center, consolidating three state forestry offices into one centralized location.

The new location will reduce costs, improve workflow efficiency and provide a place for forestry personnel to store and maintain wildland firefighting equipment.

The building also houses a call center for burn permit requests and space to host outreach and educational events for the community.

“This new, expanded work center will play a significant role in the Division of Forestry’s continued success,” says Commissioner Jai Templeton.

Brad Canfield, forester, is based at the new work center to assist woodland owners with property stewardship, including technical assistance, forest planning assistance, cost-share assistance, forest health assessments and forestry information.

Knoxville expands its service fleet

The City of Knoxville has added five medium-duty trucks, five snow plows and five knuckleboom loaders to its fleet.

It is the first wave of an order that over the next few months will bring a total of 22 new medium-duty trucks, 16 snow plows and 16 knuckleboom loaders coming to Knoxville.

The vehicles are replacing their older counterparts and are expected to significantly improve the city’s capability to deliver services, including brush collection and snow removal operations.

The new trucks will also be used as platforms for the city’s leaf collection and pothole patching operations in each of the six public service areas.

Public art enlivens old staircase connector

The decades-old black metal stairs connecting the Gay Street Viaduct with the Old City’s Jackson Avenue has been given a makeover, part of a vigorous public art initiative in Knoxville.

A colorful, bold mural, created by Robin Easter Design and commissioned by the Central Business Improvement District is part of more than $1 million funded by the City for downtown during the past five years.

The “Stories” mural depicts images of Knoxville, and CBID also upgraded the lighting on the staircase as part of the project.

The stairs will become an even more important pedestrian connection later this year when Jackson Avenue at Gay Street closes for about 12 months while the 98-year-old ramps are rebuilt.

“One measure of a city’s vibrancy is its embrace of public art,” says Mayor Madeline Rogero. “People want and expect to see murals, sculptures and all types of intellectually-stimulating pieces of art as they experience and enjoy downtown.

“With support from partners like Visit Knoxville, CBID and Dogwood Arts, and the expertise of the Public Arts Committee, we’re quickly enhancing our collection of public art – both in terms of quantity and quality.”

Methodist Medical earns ‘A’ rating

Oak Ridge’s Methodist Medical Center received an “A” grade in The Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2018 Hospital Safety Scores, ranking the hospital among the safest in the U.S.

“It is gratifying to be a part of an organization with such a long-standing track record of quality,” says Jeremy Biggs, Methodist Medical Center president and chief administrative officer.

“To be among such an elite group of hospitals to have received this type of national recognition and validation is truly an honor.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization focused on the quality and safety of American health care. The group’s Hospital Safety Score assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their records of patient safety, to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign letter grades to approximately 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. Scores are calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

City finishes streetscapes on West Jackson Avenue

The two West Jackson Avenue streetscapes have now been completed at a cost of almost $2.5 million in upgrades.

The larger project – totaling more than $1.64 million in federal and local funding – involved sidewalk improvements, KUB electrical relocations, telecommunications enhancements, street lighting and landscaping on the south side of West Jackson Avenue between the western ramp onto Gay Street and North Broadway.

The north side will be completed in the future, in conjunction with the redevelopment of the McClung Warehouses site.

Design & Construction Services Inc. was the project contractor, and Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers was the designer.

The second streetscape project – totaling a little more than $830,000 – involved sidewalk improvements, KUB gas relocations, street lighting and planting of street trees between North Central Street and the eastern ramp connecting Jackson to Gay Street. Southern Constructors Inc. was the contractor for that project, and CDM-Smith Inc. was the designer.

Robin Easter, president of the Old City Association, said the city’s investments in public infrastructure and the private investment to open new or expand existing Old City businesses and residences go hand in hand.

A new restaurant and gym are coming to the 100 block of West Jackson. The Crozier, a mixed-use development with luxury condos, offices and retail space at Central Street and Willow Avenue, and Regas Square, a mixed-use project with more than 100 condominiums just across the railroad tracks on Depot Avenue, are slated to open later this year.

Campus projects underway this summer

Construction will continue at a brisk pace on the campus of the University of Tennessee this summer.

A section of Volunteer Boulevard from Melrose Avenue to Peyton Manning Pass will close from June to August, part of the final phase of the Volunteer Boulevard streetscape.

The Ken and Blaire Mossman Building on Cumberland Avenue is in the final stages of construction with classes to begin in the fall. The building will house portions of microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, psychology and nutrition, along with lab space and classrooms.

“It looks like we’re going to be on time and under budget on the Mossman project,” says Andy Powers, Facilities Services director of design services.

Fencing will go up this month around the site of the new Engineering Services Facility on the east and south sides of Neyland Stadium. Estabrook Hall, Berry Hall, Pasqua Hall and the Biology Annex on Neyland Drive will be removed, and construction will begin on the new home of UT’s freshman engineering program and the Department of Nuclear engineering.

Work is tentatively set to finish in 2021.

“The idea is to have a cohesive design, matching the stadium with the new engineering building,” Powers says.

The new Terrace Avenue parking garage opens in the fall, featuring 850 spaces for commuter students and employees. The garage will offer shared parking in the evenings for patrons of businesses along Cumberland Avenue.

Work continues on the West Campus Redevelopment project, with the next two residence halls set to open in the fall of 2019.

Oak Ridge thoroughfare faces reconstruction

Tennessee Avenue in Oak Ridge is undergoing reconstruction with businesses and residents expecting to be affected for several months.

Adams and Sons, Inc., will work on a portion of the street beginning 400 feet east of its intersection with New York Avenue down to its intersection with Michigan Avenue.

Oak Ridge’s Public Works Department will replace the existing 1940s-era water main along Tennessee Avenue, in addition to making curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs.

Road reconstruction, as opposed to resurfacing, is required when large portions of the subgrade is known to be substandard.

Some of this impact of the construction will include the roadway being reduced to one lane of traffic, the road being closed to through traffic and/or short-term temporary blockage of driveways. The contractor will make every effort to maintain local access; however, portions of the road will have to be closed and detours will be necessary.

Public Works strongly recommends residents make plans early to take alternate routes.

Blackhorse Brewery selects Alcoa

Blackhorse Brewery is opening a location in Alcoa.

The brewery will be in the former City of Alcoa garage located at the corner of Bessemer Street and Hall Road.

“Blackhorse Brewery is excited to announce that we are expanding to the City of Alcoa with a new brewing facility,’’ says Jeff and Sherri Robinson, owners. “This facility will become our primary brewery for production and distribution of Blackhorse beers. Phase One of the project will aim at getting the building renovated and into use for the brewing operation.”

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