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Local merchants discuss ways to improve Knoxville Center Mall area

2:06 PM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR, Knoxville) - Local merchants in and around the Knoxville Center Mall area met with leaders from the City of Knoxville and TDOT Monday morning to talk about how to improve visibility and access to the area.

Spearheaded by Knoxville City Councilman Nick Della Volpe, the meeting addressed three issues: lack of visibility, lack of signage on the interstate, and lack of access.

The first things the city and T-DOT plan to work on is clearing the brush that blocks the view from the interstate.

Officials say this is what can be done in the immediate future to improve visibility.

"It's going to take a little while. It's going to take some seriously heavy equipment and some good effort to try and create some more visibility in the location," said Christy Branscom, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy to the Mayor.

When it comes to adding signs, federal regulations prevent signs like the ones Della Volpe wants to add from the interstate.

T-DOT Region 1 Director Steve Borden suggested re-branding the area.

"There are some opportunities around the state where you have branded a local shopping area and tied that to the name of the streets," said Borden.

Re-branding is something leaders say the merchants will have to work on and discuss.

Addressing access to the exit is a little more difficult.

Della Volpe wants to add extra exits at both ends of the shopping area.

This will require an impact study and approval on several levels.

Della Volpe says he is working on a resolution to present to the city council asking for the impact study.

It could take years before something that extensive is a reality.

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