Roth assured those concerned that Grinnell, whose downtown currently has the setup Knoxville is switching to, has not met many problems related to traffic congestion or parking issues. He also mentioned that the narrowed streets will make for wider sidewalks, which will make more pavement space for downtown events. The increased sidewalk width will also cut down on time pedestrians will be in the lines of traffic when crossing streets.
Roth said that with the current plan, no parking will be lost in the downtown area.
There were attendees who also expressed their support for the project. Kathy Caviness from Sundance Realty expressed enthusiasm for the improvement of the downtown sewer system, as well as the general updating and aesthetic improvements that the project will provide the downtown area. As a realtor, she said she likes the idea of improving the look of the Knoxville square, and she hopes that the downtown improvements could lead to other town improvements.
“We have to start somewhere, and if we don’t start now, we’ll never start,” Caviness said.In terms of starting phase II of the project, Roth hopes construction can begin July 29 at the earliest. The project is going out for bids by the end of the week, and a public hearing will be held on June 17 on the project plans, specs, and estimate.
On June 25, a pre-bid meeting with be held with potential bidders at City Hall in the Community Room at 2 p.m. On July 15, the project will go to council, and the contract and bond will be subject to legal and engineering review before being approved.
Roth says that discussion with contractors will decide whether or not phase II will begin this July or next spring; it is dependent on the contractors’ schedules and whether or not booking them for the summer or next spring will be more cost-efficient. As of now, Roth says it is looking to be potentially more cost-efficient for contracting this summer.