So many tiny little changes creep into the city that we sometimes notice and sometimes miss, but taken all together each little increment moves our city steadily along its journey of self-discovery and its evolution into the city we all knew it could become. Most of these little changes appeared late in the year and haven’t made it into my my blog, so I’m giving them a shout-out today. The last one I’ll look at marks the end of an era in a way. One that had to end, but one that was pretty cool, in my opinion.
One change I noticed is a friendlier version of Visit Knoxville than what appeared to be the case when it had its old name. Obviously there was more than enough damage control that needed to be done, but I’m liking some of what I’m seeing. The two hour free parking beside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center is one example. That’s pretty sweet and while it may have been true for sometime, this summer they actually made a sign to make it clear and invite people in.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready to be shed of the ice skating rink for another year. By this time I miss being able to see the whole square in all its beauty. Some of you may have noticed the beauty increased this past summer with the addition of flowers around the trees and lovely fences around the flowers. This should help the trees survive as the earth around them won’t be packed by the marauding masses who crowd the square for all manner of events.
It’s always nice to see non-automobile transportation encouraged and that’s just what these new bike racks in the Old City do. I like the smaller version on sidewalks elsewhere throughout downtown, but this one makes a statement by making a former parking space for a car into a small bike port. I’d love to see this spread in front of other businesses with outdoor seating, such as Coffee and Chocolate. I hate it when I sit at an outside table and can only see one side of someone’s car parked two feet from my table.
Another great idea starting popping up in empty downtown windows last summer. Ammi Knight, a Maryville artist started placing artwork in underused windows which serves the purpose of promoting local artists and makes walking downtown a more interesting and colorful pedestrian experience. If you are interested in participating, you might check out their Facebook Page for contact information (or the photo above).
Finally, it’s actually part of a pretty big change involving the State Street Garage (you can follow progress of this project here), but the outdoor escalator, which I found profoundly cool when I first discovered it several years ago, is rapidly fading into history. It stopped service last week and is half-way dismantled. A temporary set of wooden stairs has been built beside it. An above-ground walkway will be constructed from the garage and, I assume, some sort of permanent access from ground-level will be provided.
The garage itself doesn’t look much different from the outside, though workers were in evidence and there are internal changes already. I think the appearance of the garage will dramatically change in coming weeks as the new level is added.
Are there other changes you’ve noticed which I haven’t mentioned on the blog? These are interesting times in the city. Keep your eyes open and try to take it all in. The Knoxville of just a year ago is gone. This one will soon follow to be replaced by something just a bit different, yet.