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'How do we guide this development in a healthy way?' | People share concerns on new waterfront development in South Knox

As Knoxville works on plans for a new pedestrian bridge to connect UT to South Knoxville, people are expressing their concerns.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As the city of Knoxville works on its plan for a new pedestrian bridge to meet the high enrollment needs at the University of Tennessee, people are sharing their concerns. 

On Thursday, the University of Tennessee released its 2023 Master Plan, which includes adding new beds and new parking spaces for current and incoming students. 

People who live in South Knoxville are concerned about development plans on the waterfront as UT tries to expand its campus across the river.

John Cadotte is one Knovillian that moved to South Knoxville for a few reasons, one being the area is "low-key." But as development for UT students begins, he said it may affect the atmosphere.  

"The main concern I hear from the residents is [worrying] about what's going to happen [in the] area with the influx of student housing and students and how that will change the dynamic of the neighborhood," Cadotte said. 

With the plan including buying land in South Knoxville to expand the campus, Cadotte said that will create a bigger traffic problem. 

"There's not really a good way to bring in so many people without addressing the railroad tunnel," he said. 

The Knoxville City Council approved the mayor to apply for federal funding for the new pedestrian bridge that would connect UT with South Knoxville. However, homeowners are skeptical about the changes. 

Cadotte, who is a neighborhood representative of the advisory council, said the original vision plan was created in 2006 with community engagement. 

"You could have a grocery store and other retail, but also have residents [and] good greenways and green space," he said.

He also said they want the city to include the community in big changes like these and consider how they would affect their lives.

"I think some of it is inevitable and some of it's good. But... how do we guide this development in a healthy way," Cadotte said. 

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