Mer Mer's Bakery employees say more customers stroll their newly-improved Gay Street block
With many ongoing improvements to Downtown Knoxville, Market Square and the 100 block of Gay Street have been a primary focus.
Now, plans are in place to attract more people to a lesser known section of the downtown area.
Mer Mer's Bakery sits just beyond the I-40 overpass, on the 600 block of North Gay Street. City officials have now extended beautification efforts to that end of the street.
"Hopefully it will draw more customers and interest on our side!" said Caroline Lawson, who works in the bakery.
She says improvement is already visible.
"Flowers and trees going in on the sidewalks, the lampposts... We love seeing that on the sidewalk," she said.
Work along the 100 block isn't finished yet.
In a just a few weeks, city officials will install new, "smart" parking meters which will take credit card payments. In the future, officials also hope to improve street quality on the brick-lay ramps that connect Jackson Avenue and Gay Street.
New businesses and residents are moving in too.
Dewhirst Properties is finishing new lofts along Jackson Avenue, with many tenants already moving in.
Just around the corner, the owners of Shuck Raw Bar have plans too. The restaurant is operated by the owners of Cru Bistro and Wine Bar, which plans to open a new Cru location along Gay Street this fall.