KCDC looks to revitalize historic East Knoxville neighborhood

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Some Knoxville residents are teaming up with city leaders to shape the future of a sometimes troubled neighborhood.

Wednesday, members of the Knoxville Community Development Corporation met with residents in the Five Points community of East Knoxville. They gathered input on how they would like to see that area redeveloped under a new master plan, which would look to add new homes in the area while revamping other features like parks.

"What do we want this community to look like if we tear down all of the public housing, what do we want to rebuild?" asked KCDC President Alvin Nance to a crowd of about 100 people Wednesday in Five Points.

Part of the process has been underway for three years with the recent demolition of the Walter P. Taylor homes and the construction of senior housing complexes.

By this winter, 122 housing units will have been built in the area, with even more construction planned, according to Nance. He said the area has potential to change the same way Mechanicsville did when KCDC redeveloped it.

"We saw property values increase in Mechanicsville, we saw a lot of businesses, so we knew new jobs came into Mechanicsville," he said.

Dewey Roberts has lived in the community his entire life. He said he and other residents have worked a long time to make the area great.

"We have really struggled to make this community viable and make it a place where people want to live," he said.

Roberts said that is why he's excited with KCDC'S plans.

Previous Story : Demolition Nears for Walter P. Taylor Homes

"It sort of like a dream beginning to come true," he said.

Five Points residents told KCDC they wanted to see more homes, basketball courts, baseball fields and retail come to the area.

Residents also had another popular desire: a stronger police presence.

But, longtime resident and city councilman Dan Brown, says KCDC's redevelopment project could provide a permanent fix to the area's crime problem.

"If this area can be redeveloped, it should bring down the crime rate," he said.

KCDC said their plan will take place in phases over 10 years. Nance said KCDC wants to avoid displacing a lot of people in the community.

The project has already cost $21 million. Nance said, in the end, the total will likely increase to $85 million when all is done.

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