While I listed a half-dozen and one changes just last week, there are a number of others worth mentioning. I suspect this may become a regular feature as so many changes are happening and I can’t write a story about each of them short of cloning myself. Some of these may be minor, while others will grow into stories of their own. And one thing has actually changed since I mentioned it just last Friday. Let’s get started.
As you see in the photograph above, large signs have now been added to the Wayfinding Project. They are attractive and colorful. I’ll admit I find them a bit confounding, but perhaps that’s just me. One side features a large road map of the county, including interstates and I’m not sure who is standing on Market Square and needing that information.
The other side features a very good map of the downtown grid. My concern is that to see this map, a person must be facing south and the map is traditionally oriented, with the north at the top. This means that a person must mentally turn the map upside down in order to know where to go. What would I have done if I had been in charge? Probably the same thing because I’d have a hard time putting north at the bottom of the map. Still, it seems likely to confuse people who aren’t map nerds like myself.
But look at the picture. People are posing beside the new signs to have their pictures made, much in the manner they pose beside the “Great Smoky Mountains National Park” signs. By that measure you’d have to say the signs are a hit. So, maybe the content isn’t as important as the appeal markers of place have to people. It will be fun watching the reactions of the thousands of roving children and their chaperons next week when Destination Imagination hits town.
It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to have to get used to calling “Oodles Uncorked,” simply “Knoxville Uncorked.” It’s particularly hard for me because I always called it “Oodles,” and that’s the part that got dropped. More than just the name has changed. The decor at the careful hands of Bernadette West has changed significantly and the menu is shifting, as well. New chef Terri Roberts is in charge and putting her own stamp on the cuisine both there and, soon, at the Market House Cafe.
Market House Cafe is still evolving as a concept and I hope to have more on it later, but work is underway. You see the photos here of the freezer being removed from the roof a few weeks back. It hasn’t been a simple transition from one business and tenant to another. Work on the new business is in serious discussion and will soon be underway.
Facades are also a hot topic. The one pictured above is at 30 Market Square, most recently known as the last boarded-up store-front on Market Square. The facade underneath isn’t necessarily beautiful or likely the original facade for the building, but at least it isn’t deteriorating plywood. Soon the city will have displays in the windows. Stored inside will be the new sound system which has been funded and ordered for the Market Square Stage.
Other facades of interest: The old Regas facade work continues and it reveals more of the original stone work from the hotel that preceded the restaurant. These stones haven’t seen the light of day in generations. The JC Penney facade is changing everyday and looking better and better. The final facade pictured is at Kendrick Place where work is beginning to replace the 100-year-old cornices. It’s an expensive and tedious prospect and it’s something to note if you live or are considering moving downtown: the building belongs to your HOA and you, in conjunction with your neighbors, could find yourself funding such a project.
Parking garages are also back in the news. Work is being done on the brick on the front of the Locust Street Garage. Public restrooms are officially funded in the city budget for the Market Square Garage and plans are being developed. Meanwhile, the most watched garage in the city in recent memory, the Walnut Street Garage, is open. Minor work is still being finished, but cars may park there. It’s a bit more expensive during the day than other garages – $3 an hour with a $10 maximum, but it’s free nights and weekends. Getting that word out may be a challenge. There is no sign on the garage telling people this is the case and, so far, the gates are not raised at night to indicate it is free.
This photograph was taken before the corral was finished, but the line of garbage cans on the sidewalk should be gone forever by now as they have been placed inside the new enclosure. It frees up the sidewalk and makes it more pleasant. It’s funny, I never really thought about them being on the sidewalk before, but clearly this is better. Still, I don’t recall seeing either garbage cans or corrals on the streets in other cities. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.
Finally: Do you remember this meter from last week’s post? Apparently right after I wrote about it, the orientation of the protrusion was shifted to parallel the building, removing the hazard I’d pointed out. I assume it was coincidental to my mention, but it’s pretty cool to see a little problem so quickly corrected.