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'Save It, Don't Pave It' | Blount Co. residents speak out against Pellissippi Pkwy expansion

While TDOT and some county leaders are on board, "Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension", also known as CAPP, are not.

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — A local group is asking state leaders to save land that could be taken over by an extension of Pellissippi Parkway.

Blount County resident, Susan Keller, is one of nearly a dozen farmers who is fighting to keep her land.  

Keller said, "Some of these farms have been in these families for more than 100 years." 

A plan that has been in the work for decades to extend Pellissippi Parkway could change that. 

Keller said, "We can have farm equipment. We can have fertilizer. We can have seed... but if we don't have land, we can't farm." 

The plan is to extend Pellissippi Parkway further into Blount County, adding four miles from Old Knoxville Highway to Lamar Alexander Highway. 

Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson, Mark Nagi, said, "Eventually, we believe that this will make for a safer road for folks in Blount County. It will also connect several roads in East Tennessee." 

While TDOT and some county leaders are on board, "Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension", also known as CAPP,  are not. 

Jay Clark, CAPP President, said, "When we say "Save it Don't Pave it" what we really mean is we want to fix the roads we have to make our community safer and in the process we want to preserve the rural character of the county." 

The group has about 300 members. 

Clark said members want the county to grow but, not at the expense of losing production farm land, "If you're going to take somebody's land for eminent domain, it needs to count." 

The plan is not set in stone. 

TDOT still needs the right of way acquisition to begin work on the ground. 

And because the project will require federal funding, TDOT is hosting a public virtual meeting online to get feedback.

You can submit comments on the virtual design meeting until, Thursday, April 29. or you can print out a comment form and mail it to TDOT by May 20th.