There was a gathering last Thursday from 4:00-6:00 at Courthouse Donuts to present ideas for developing downtown Sevierville. I went to see what was going on and what the future may hold for our downtown. There are a lot of good ideas.
“Every city is judged by its downtown.” Jack Neely, “Subterranean Knoxville: The Buried Narrative of a Distracted City,” lecture at McClung Museum, Oct. 25, 2016.
I entered Courthouse Donuts around 4:45pm and saw various picture boards around the room illustrating possible renovations to our downtown business district. Right now, there is a tight focus on a couple of blocks of Court Avenue and Bruce Street.
The picture above shows Court Avenue looking toward Main Street. On the left you can see the Courthouse, with Courthouse Donuts on the right. Eliminating 4 parking spaces and adding landscaping makes it more walkable and possible to host more events in that area.
The picture board above shows Bruce Street looking toward the community center. The picture shows parking on both sides of the street , similar to what we have now.
An overhead view.
Two other options would allow parking on only one side of the street or no parking on the street. The nice thing about no street parking would be that sidewalks could be enlarged allowing outdoor cafe seating at restaurants, ice cream shops, coffee shops, etc. I rather like the idea of those kinds of places in downtown Sevierville!
The goals for renovating downtown are to make it more walkable and more useable. Other good ideas are ‘way finding’ signage to direct visitors historic things, the Dolly Parton statue, parking, etc.
I had a chance to speak with Andrew and James Temple about their preferences in this renovation, particularly parking and the landscaping options.
Pinkie Mistry and Stefanie Johnson are interested in downtown renovation and shared some of their ideas as well.
Charlie and Alex Johnson also are interested in a revitalized downtown. I spent at least 15 minutes chatting with Charlie and think that he has a good vision for this project, as well as the others there. On a side note: Alex told me a funny story about running into his high school Latin teacher (and my good friend, Laura Lindsey Long) at the baggage area of the Rome airport. She was leading a trip with students and he was traveling on his own. It is a small world!
I could not partake of any snacks because I was heading to a HIIT class…but it looked fabulous!
I always admire this platter!
I think that renovating downtown Sevierville will be a big job, but feel confident in the ones ‘leading the charge.’ It is exciting to see something take shape from the beginning stage. Click on this link to see more, sign up for project updates, and share your input. The opening page of the website shows a wonderful illustration of what our downtown may become one day. Go see it!
The completed project is sure to make it even more fun to get out and about in Sevierville.