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VOL. 45 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 21, 2021

Elo to expand Knoxville operations

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Elo, a global provider of interactive touch-screen solutions, plans to open a new state-of-the-art facility in Knoxville.

The facility will be home to warehouse, logistics, service, product configuration and other customer facing functions such as tech support and inside sales. It is expected to open in the late summer of 2021, expanding Elo’s investment in Knoxville and will initially be home to 80 Elo employees, with plans to grow in the future.

Fifty years ago, Elo invented the world’s first touch screen and established its roots in East Tennessee. Today, Elo is a worldwide leader in commercial touch screen solutions, with Elo products deployed in over 80 countries.

“With the construction of our new facility in Hardin Valley well underway, Elo is deepening our roots in East Tennessee and reminding many that the Knoxville area is the birthplace of the touch screen,’’ says Craig Witsoe, Elo’s CEO and Knoxville resident.

With the natural geographic advantage and robust transportation infrastructure, Elo’s East Tennessee expansion will consolidate warehouse, repair, and product customization functions currently located in California and New York along with its existing supply chain, tech support, and sales functions already in Knoxville.

TVA, Kairos Power partner on demo reactor

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Kairos Power will collaborate on deploying a low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.

As part of this agreement, TVA will provide engineering, operations, and licensing support to help Kairos Power deploy its low-power demonstration reactor, named Hermes.

Kairos Power’s singular objective for deploying the Hermes Reactor is to demonstrate the capability to deliver an advanced reactor at the costs necessary to make nuclear power the most affordable source of dispatchable electricity in the United States.

TVA generates more than 40% of its electricity from nuclear power, and is recognized as a national leader in nuclear power with the third largest nuclear fleet in the U.S.

Chamber puts support behind sports park plan

The Knoxville Chamber’s board of directors has voted to support the development of the Knoxville Sports and Entertainment Park.

The proposed $65 million multi-use facility would be the catalyst for the return of the Tennessee Smokies to Knoxville.

The addition of $100 million in associated private development aligns with the Chamber’s mission of driving regional economic prosperity.

The park is scheduled to open in 2023.

The construction and ongoing use of the publicly owned park would support over 3,000 jobs, have over $1.1 billion in economic impact, and be managed by the new Sports Authority of Knox County and the city of Knoxville.

“Our board cited several reasons to support the Knoxville Sports and Entertainment Park,” says Amy Nolan, the Chamber’s vice president of regional enhancement. “Those included the redevelopment of a currently blighted area, the venue’s proximity to a part of town that’s seen historic disinvestment, the significant private development that will accompany the public investment, and its role as civic furniture that will help retain and attract much-needed young talent to the region.”

Edward R. Murrow award goes to WBIR

WBIR in Knoxville has received three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism.

The station is owned by TEGNA Inc., and its stations received 86 regional awards.

WBIR was honored in the investigative reporting category for Mecklenburg County Pandemic Loans and in the excellence in sound category for Wood Frogs Gone Wild.

The station also was honored for its digital efforts at and WBIR social platforms.

“TEGNA’s commitment to exceptional journalism has once again been recognized by the prestigious Regional Edward R. Murrow awards,” says Dave Lougee, president and CEO, TEGNA.

“As our nation continues to confront acts of racial and social injustice, we are especially proud that our stations are recognized for covering and facilitating important discussions about race and inequality that will help drive systemic change.”

Mayor targets Knoxville homelessness

Mayor Indya Kincannon’s proposed 2021-22 City Budget includes $1.5 million in local funds to support the development of permanent supportive housing.

“Permanent supportive housing is a critical housing solution for individuals struggling with chronic homelessness,” Kincannon says.

“Like many communities across the nation, Knoxville struggles to meet the various and complex needs of people experiencing homelessness.

“We are committed to finding solutions and working with community partners to create housing that provides the stability and support people need in order to live with dignity.”

Permanent supportive housing pairs individuals with the stability of a permanent place to live and resources like case management, job training and addiction treatment that support a person’s ability to secure and remain in housing.

At a recent meeting of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Homelessness, street outreach workers stated that many of the unhoused people who are living in outdoor encampments express a desire for permanent housing but know they need additional help to address addiction, mental health and other issues in order to remain stably housed.

More than $4 million in federal funding that flows through the City of Knoxville to local partners will supplement local funds to address homelessness during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Flagship extends footprint in state

Flagship Healthcare Properties of North Carolina will manage three medical office buildings in Knoxville and Hendersonville.

The company now manages five properties in the state. The three properties together comprise 202,000 square feet of space and are 93% leased.

Two of the properties are located in western Knoxville: The Knoxville Breast Center at 1400 Dowell Springs Boulevard, and Southwest Eye building at 1415 Old Weisgarber Road.

Both are on adjacent parcels in a medical district bordered by the Middlebrook Pike/Hwy. 169 commercial corridor.

The third, Physicians Plaza of Hendersonville, is located at 100 Springhouse Court in Hendersonville just off East Main Street.

InterFaith Health Clinic wins Humana grant

Knoxville’s InterFaith Health Clinic will receive a grant from Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc.

The company is investing $5.4 million in eight communities across the southeastern United States to address social determinants of health on a local level, helping more people achieve health equity as part of its ongoing Strategic Community Investment Program.

InterFaith Health will receive $750,000 to continue its Truck2Table program. The funds will help improve the quality of life of uninsured and underserved people in the area by providing affordable access to healthy food, free nutrition education and access to social connectedness resources.

Time to apply for parks and rec grants

The Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department is now accepting applications for its 2021 Challenge Grant Program, which awards grants up to $2,500 to qualifying nonprofit projects associated with public parks or recreation facilities located within the city’s limits.

Qualifying organizations will be designated 501(c)(3), 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 status community groups, homeowner associations, schools, Scout troops and other organizations. The 2021 Challenge Grant Application is now available online.

Challenge grant recipients will be reimbursed 50% of the cost of a single project, up to $2,500.

Proposed projects are preferred to be on city-owned or -leased property, but must be related to a facility that is available year-round to all residents. Application deadline is Friday, June 25, by 4:30 p.m.

Applications can be mailed to Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department, P.O. Box 1631, Knoxville, TN 37901, or emailed to Greenways Director Tim Hester at

Boyd Foundation gives $1M, honors Jenny Boyd

The Boyd Foundation has committed $1 million to YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley.

The donation will help renovate the 96-year-old Downtown Center and expand the Keys of Hope Women’s Program, which will be renamed in honor of Jenny Boyd.

The financial commitment fulfills 10% of a $10 million fundraising goal in support of the overall Keys of Hope capital campaign.

The women’s program, which will be called the Jenny Boyd Keys of Hope Women’s Program, provides transitional services for women seeking to restore their lives and reach self-sufficiency.

“We came together as a family to support the Keys of Hope campaign and be part of lifting women up through skills development and empowerment,” says Jenny Boyd, co-founder of The Boyd Foundation.

“I knew the foundation was going to make a substantial gift, but I didn’t know that the YWCA had reached out to my family to rename the Keys of Hope Women’s Program. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized in such a way.

TN National offers lake home packages

Tennessee National, a 1,400-acre gated lake and golf resort community located on Watts Bar Lake in Loudon, is releasing a limited number of new lake home packages to the public.

Packages may include any number of extras, such as complimentary covered boat slips, discounted outdoor living space and unique features in move-in-ready lake villas.

In January, Tennessee National was bought by lifestyle resort community developers Twin Creeks Properties, LLC, and officials announced immediate plans to upgrade and expand the community’s resort offerings and amenities.

Besides the community renovations, new projects are in progress. These include building a waterfront restaurant, a spa and wellness center, an upgraded marina and the addition of resort activities such as boat rentals, live music events, and more.

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