By Mike Steely
Let’s say you live inside the city limits of Knoxville and you are curious about what services you are paying for and how you can use them. If you are fairly new to Knoxville or lived here all your life there’s probably some information you do not know.
You don’t have to live downtown to benefit from City services.
So, what are you getting as a city resident for your tax money? If you don’t know who you should contact, you can always use the city’s 311 telephone number and be directed to the appropriate department. The following are just a few offices and services the city provides.
The City Government
The city council is made up of nine members and the mayor. Unlike the Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Mayor Madeline Rogero presides over the meetings of her governing body. You can reach the mayor’s office at 215-2040.
The City Council is made up of nine members: six from the city districts and three elected at large. The at large councilmen are George C. Wallace, Marshall W. Stair, and Finbarr Saunders. The six district council members are Nick Pavlis (vice mayor), Duane Grieve, Brenda Palmer, Mark Campen and Daniel Brown. The city council office can be reached at 215-2075.
Mayor Rogero and the council members can also be contacted on the city’s website at “www.cityofknoxville.org.”
Office of Neighborhoods
More than 100 different neighborhood groups are coordinated by the Office of Neighborhoods and you can find out about your area by calling 215-3232 or check the internet at the city site.
David Massey is the Neighborhood Coordinator and you can reach him at that number or you can email him at email@example.com.
Basically the office works with organized groups to coordinate programs, hear problems, hold meetings with neighborhood representatives, and help with city policy and services. Massey also publishes an on-line calendar of city and neighborhood events.
Bus and Trolley Service
Knoxville Area Transit serves more than 3.6 million riders each year and provides bus, trolley and para-transport. Downtown Trolley rides are free. After 6 p.m. and on weekends, parking is free on downtown streets. So if you live outside the downtown, you may want to drive in and ride the Trolley.
One way bus tickets are $1.50 or 75 cents to people over 65 with Medicare or KAT cards and students with KAT I.D. Cards.
Loading and unloading at the Transit Center changed recently and you can no longer catch a bus at 301 East Church Street. You must get on or off on the upper level. Trolleys will continue to load and unload on the street.
Buses serving neighborhoods away from the center of town arrive about every 15 minutes on major street bus stops and you should have the correct change for the fares.
You can contact KAT at 637-3000. Route information is available on their web site, www.katbus.com.
Parking downtown any day after 6 p.m. is free on the streets or at the State Street garage and Locust Street Garage except for special events. Otherwise you must pay the meters or the garage fees. You can also pay monthly to park in the garages.
There are several commercial parking facilities around downtown but don’t be confused because parking in a commercial lot or garage is NOT free after 6 p.m.
Parking meters on city streets are operated from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Also, watch where you park because some parking spaces are now only for mobile food vendors, the handicapped, or authorized vehicles.
Knoxville City Police
Inside Knoxville the City Police serves the community and David Rausch is police chief. He can be reached at 215-7229. Darrell DeBusk is the public information officer and you can reach him at 215-7229.
Seven citizens serve as the Police Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and reviews complaints and reports to the city council and the mayor. You can reach PARC at 215-3869 or find the committee on the city web site.
Obviously if you have a police or fire emergency you should always call 911 for help.
Parks, pools and playgrounds
There are 81 parks in and around Knoxville, ranging in size from one acre to 331 acres. These include golf courses, historic parks, community playgrounds, and riverside parks. Many connect with greenways and all, by law, prohibit alcohol-drug-and firearms.
Many offer playgrounds, Frisbee courts, pools, fountains, bath rooms, and walking trails. All of the parks are supported by taxpayer money and operated by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. You can access a list of parks, what they have to offer, how large they are, etc. at the city’s website.
Each of the parks has been named for outstanding national, state, historic or local citizens.
The information on Visit Knoxville’s website says it all:
If you’re new to Knoxville you need to make Visit Knoxville one of your first stops. If you’re a long-time resident you should stop by, especially over lunch and enjoy the live music during the Blue Plate Special.
Located in downtown Knoxville at the corner of Summit and Gay, the Knoxville Visitors Center is the place for all things Knoxville. From maps and information on tours and entertainment to locally made art and gifts, visitors and locals alike enjoy trips to our Visitors Center.
Stop by the Visitors Center Monday through Saturday and enjoy the WDVX Blue Plate Special – a free live concert from Noon to 1:00pm. Kids can always find something fun to do in the Kid’s Corner at the Visitors Center. If you’re downtown on the third Friday of the month, you can be sure the Kid’s Corner has something special planned – maybe a fun craft, a furry visitor from the Knoxville Zoo or a meet and greet with athlete from one of our local sports teams!
Our friendly staff is happy to help you plan your visit. Feel free to ask us about local hot spots, walking tours, trolley schedules, kid-friendly outings, upcoming festivals and more. We look forward to helping you enjoy your stay in Knoxville.
You can call Visit Knoxville at 800-727-8045 or find them online at www.visitknoxville.com.
This a very quick look at Knoxville and what your tax dollars get you. There’s so much more including various upcoming projects and a myriad of city departments: the Fire Department, Garbage Collection, the city courts, special events, and things like building inspections, public works, street repairs, and the departments of Finance, Engineering, Civil Service, etc.