Friday Potpourri: Development, Art and Democracy

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

Time to catch a breath and enjoy a weekend. I hope you have some fun plans for you and your family. We’ll stick close to home, of course, but I suspect there will be movies, junk food for the young ones and hopefully some chill time for the grown ups. We’ll listen to some music, probably put something on the grill and maybe take an urban hike.

I’m including some photos from about four weeks ago of a couple of developments around town, in case you haven’t had a chance to check them out recently. Both are coming along rapidly and seem headed toward finishes this year, providing new condos on the south side of the city and new apartments on the south side of the river.

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

The Overlook on Hill Avenue is a project including ten condos, eight of which are sold, according to the website. The units are designed to orient toward the river or toward the city and are located on a lovely, leafy city street just out of the main hustle and bustle. You can see floor plans on the website and the contact information to make an inquiry if you are interested. The units are represented by Kimberly Hamilton Dixon, whose ad you can click on the right of this article to contact her directly.

City South Apartments, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

City South Apartments, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

The second development pictured here is located at 726 Sevier Avenue, on the corner of Sevier and Davenport. City South, upon completion, will offer 118 studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments will all the amenities. It will also line that stretch of Sevier Avenue with commercial space.

There is no question that the face of Sevier Avenue is changing and, with change some will be happy and others not as much. I do appreciate that these have brick on street-level and included commercial spaces along Sevier Avenue. It will be an attractive spot for many, with the easy access to the river and to downtown.

City South Apartments, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

City South Apartments, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, July 2020

As for art, I have a couple of things for you. First, a heads up for a new place to check out art on Jackson Avenue. Colour Trails Art Alliance is hosting an open house and grand opening tonight. Located at 127 West Jackson Avenue, the business blends a realty company, Exit Realty, and an art gallery. The event is presented with safety measures in place and they’d like you to RSVP. You can do that here (as well as read the details).

In other art news, I’m really enjoying a new CD by Tenn Pan Alley, a Maryville/Knoxville-based band that includes long-time Inside of Knoxville reader Don Neary, along with bandmates Marc Larsen, Billy Raye Smith and Breck Lemons. The album could be called Americana with blues, folk and straight up pop blended into their own mix.

Tenn Pan Alley

Small delights slip in to each song, whether muscular or delicate guitar licks or sweet harmonica over a rock-solid beat. I feel like I’ve found a little gem from the late 1960’s (which is a big compliment in my world). It’s melodic, joyful and a perfect antidote for the times. I’m including one of my favorite tracks here. You can find them on their Facebook Page or website. You can also hear them tomorrow night at Calhouns on the River. They are available on Spotify, Apple Music, I Tunes, and Amazon Music.

Here’s what my friend Steve Wildsmith had to say about them some time back, ” . . . there’s a delicate interplay between the two men who make up the duo known as Tenn Pan Alley. Larsen’s Chicago background adds some muscle to the music, and he often plays electric; with his whiskey-soaked vocals, he’s the battle ax to Neary’s fencing sword, both men finding respective pockets where Neary’s delicate playing and Larsen’s restrained power create similar harmonics as a pair well-matched for singing vocals.”

Finally, for a little democracy in action. I hope you voted yesterday (or earlier) and were pleased with the results. It was our first foray into mail-in voting and we liked it. I missed the communal experience a bit, but it seemed the best choice for us. If you would like to vote via mail-in ballot for this November’s election (it is for president and other stuff, if you haven’t heard 🙂 ), those ballots may now be requested.

There are different ways to get there, but one way is here. Special shout-out to Just John who pointed out the ballot requests began being accepted this week. Unfortunately, those allowed to do so may not be quite as wide for the fall election, so stay tuned. Our state leaders sued to restrict access and (thank you Compass, I missed this), the state Supreme Court stopped the wider access on Wednesday (albeit temporarily and it did not impact this election.

Here’s that song I promised. I think this should get your weekend off to a great start.



  1. Just John says


    The State of Tennessee offers voting opportunities through the mail, and in person at early-voting sites and on Election Day itself (which this year is November 3). For vote-security reasons, the website offers extensive information and blank documents regarding voting, but it is not possible to actually cast a vote online.

    A legal ruling in June REQUIRES the State of Tennessee to allow absentee (AKA mail-in) voting for any of the following reasons–including COVID-19 concern. The eligibility listing actually includes the COVID-19 allowance twice. Importantly: one is NOT required to HAVE the infection, but merely “DETERMINE[] THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE OR UNREASONABLE TO VOTE IN-PERSON DUE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION.”

    * You will be outside the county where you are registered during the early voting period and all day on Election Day.
    * You or your spouse are a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county where you are registered.
    * You are on the permanent absentee list (see question 4 below).
    * You reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility or home for the aged outside your county of residence.
    * You will be unable to vote in-person due to jury duty.
    * You are sixty (60) years of age or older.
    * You have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place.
    * You are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote; AND/OR YOU HAVE DETERMINED IT IS IMPOSSIBLE OR UNREASONABLE TO VOTE IN-PERSON DUE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION.
    * You are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled, AND/OR YOU HAVE DETERMINED IT IS IMPOSSIBLE OR UNREASONABLE TO VOTE IN-PERSON DUE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION.
    * You are a candidate for office in the election.
    * You serve as an Election Day official or as a member or employee of the election commission.
    * You are observing a religious holiday that prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day.
    * You or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the open hours of early voting and Election Day and have no specific out-of-county or out-of-state address to which mail may be sent or received during such time.
    * You are a member of the military or are an overseas citizen.

    First, note that the State of Tennessee makes absolutely no distinction between “absentee” voting and “mail-in” voting. Unlike specious warnings to the contrary, COVID-voting has precisely the same security requirements as absentee-voting for some other reason–it’s simply a new reason added to the long-standing mechanism for absentee voting, not some new scary thing.

    Second, note that voting by mail requires two steps: requesting the ballot from the State; and then actually completing and returning the ballot. But each of these takes little time, and both can be done at home or at work, without the bother of finding the appropriate polling place and without the risk of contracting the infection.

    Here below is a free nonpartisan request site for Tennesse mail-in ballots. Filling this out does not get one an actual ballot–rather it populates the necessary request to receive the ballot. Then one can print and mail it.

    I’m already a registered voter, so I only had to fill-out a few blanks, and I received a mail-in request form through e-mail in about a minute start-to-finish. Print it out, check the appropriate boxes, and pop it in the mail. The State will then send the mail-in ballot itself, for the voter to complete and return.

    That site creates a filled-in form; if one wants to request a blank one directly from the State and do the filling-in personally, here is the relevant website.

    Requests for November ballots are supposed to be available NOW.
    “But wait, Just John–how can it be possible to do this now ? The ballot isn’t set yet !” Remember that this first step DOES NOT GET YOU A BALLOT–it simply gets you AN OFFICIAL (SECURED) REQUEST FOR A BALLOT. No candidates or issues are listed on the first-step request.

    Also, it’s important to note that the return-by-mail requirements are different from the only other government mail we typically use. For US Tax Day, we simply have to have the returns postmarked by April 15 (or the changed deadline this year). But Constitutionally all elections, even those for federal positions, are run by the individual States. The State of Tennessee’s rules require that for mail/absentee voting THE COMPLETED BALLOT MUST BE *ACTUALLY RECEIVED* BY VOTING DAY TO BE COUNTED; so a voter should get their completed ballot into the mail as early as they’ve made their choices in order to be counted.

    BUT WAIT–THERE’S MORE ! What if one is not registered to vote ? The State of Tennessee allows in-person, mail-in, and online registration, though for security reasons the State requires an in-person appearance at some point before a person can vote–so, if a person registers online or by-mail then the first voting event must be in-person at a poll site. This State website offers the required forms.


    • Just John says

      Two things:

      — There’s an electronic ellipsis in the second-to-last paragraph–I apparently used a disallowed double-brackets to highlight a phrase. The sentence should read: The State of Tennessee’s rules require that for mail/absentee voting @THE COMPLETED BALLOT MUST BE *ACTUALLY RECEIVED* BY VOTING DAY TO BE COUNTED@ so a voter should get their completed ballot into the mail as early as they’ve made their choices in order to be counted.

      — The Tennessee Supreme Court did indeed reverse the trial court’s COVID-19 mail-in ruling, though not in a ‘completely final’ way–they sent the case back to the trial court for a new ruling. The wording makes it seem likely to me, though, that the trial court has been firmly guided to remove the COVID allowance. So a big portion of my first message is rendered moot, but the information may still be helpful for general purposes.

  2. Don Neary says

    Alan, thanks so much for your great comments! Just one correction, Saturday, August 8th, we will be at Calhoun’s on the River in Knoxville, instead of SMB Maryville.

  3. So, we should try and request the ballots to see if they’ll approve us for mail in? We did it for this time and it went great. I did hear that voting went smoothly for a lot of folks although they were surprised at write in ballots. But, I’d rather not go in if I don’t have. But I WILL vote. And, I will check these guys out. Love the blues and I swear it’s getting harder to find good music. Thank heavens old music never goes away. Have a good weekend!

  4. This is what I miss the most. Thankfully it looks like residential development and construction aren’t slowing down.

  5. Design Critic says

    Thank you Alan for a breath of updates on development, which is encouraging to see progress during this strange time. I’m sorry to be critical here when there is so much negativity in our world, but would be remiss to not comment here on the design of ‘The Overlook’. Am I the only one who finds this the least inspiring building in all of downtown Knoxville, let alone the region? I’m encouraged to see that 8 of 10 units have sold, a testament to at least the amenities and views (for now, until the other development is built) but honestly every time I see that buidling in person or rendering, I cringe. It’s just baffling to me, and maybe the architect/developer can explain their approach here.

    As for City South, the renderings I’ve seen appear to show something more inspiring in material and form, and I’m thankful that careful thought was applied to the elevations along Sevier. Thanks again for the update, Alan.

  6. Do you know how close The Overlook is to allowing the road in front of them to reopen. It would be nice to divert some traffic from Henley and Main for people trying to get down to Neyland…

    • I live nearby, and I doubt the road will be open before next summer.

      As far as getting down to Neyland, heading up to main and down isn’t significantly longer. Also you can still take Hill and cut through the parking lot if you are so inclined.

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