Downtown Knoxville Year in Review: 2022

Addison's Books and Event Space, 126 South Gay Street, Knoxville, June 2022
2022 Density Map of Downtown Knoxville with Buildings, Parking Garages, Parking Lots and New Buildings (Since 2014)

I always enjoy the opportunity to look back at the year’s biggest stories. While I’m in the thick of it, I move from one deadline to the next and barely have time to think about the last story because I’m already writing the next one (or more). This gives me a chance to reflect a bit, to see what readers appreciate the most, and to look for trends I can’t see while it is move past me.

This year seemed to be a turning point in terms of COVID-19 conversations. I wrote about it a bit, but there was a steep drop. The few times it was mentioned here, there were about equal parts thanks and polite requests (or not!) to move on to other topics. Thankfully, that was mostly possible for the first time in nearly three years.

Overall readership has remained steady after the surge in 2020. That year I wrote 446 articles and pages were hit about 1.6 million times. Last year the article count dropped to 355 articles and about 1.2 million pages were accessed. This year’s article count dropped to 291, which is much closer to the traditional number (281 in pre-pandemic 2019), but page views remained at 1.2 million, well above the 1 million in 2019.

I have to give great thanks to Scott McNutt who dutifully and assiduously compiled 52 of those articles in the form of the 10 Day Planner, one of the most popular features here. Of the remaining 239 articles, a special shout out goes to Heather Ryerson who wrote twenty of those, starting in July.

Rendering of the View of Honeysuckle from James White Bridge

Additional thanks goes to each of you for reading and to the many of you who made a one-time donation or subscribed monthly or annually. Advertising has not recovered completely from 2020 (though this was a better year) and your donations help close the gap. This website turned twelve-years-old in June and it is only here because of you.

There are different ways to measure the popularity of an article or topic. One way is to see what spurs the most conversation. That measure doesn’t always line up with the number of readers for that article, but it indicates the level of passion generated by the topic. Here’s what you talked about the most in 2022. I count 20% COVID, 20% School Board, 60% Development.

9. (tie) COVID-19: 1/20/22 Update (January, 36 comments)

9. (tie) COVID-19: 8/31/22 Update (August, 36 comments)

8. An Updated Look at Downtown Density (July, 37 comments)

7. An Open Letter to the Knox County School Board (February, 39 comments)

6. Honeysuckle Development Announced for South Knoxville (October, 42 comments)

4. (tie) Trees and Art: Can We Have Both? (September, 44 comments)

4. (tie) Axle Logistics to Develop Brown Appliance Location (November, 44 comments)

3. “I’m Moving Downtown for the Great Parking!” (April, 49 comments)

2. We Must Have a Better Schoolboard (July, 52 comments)

1. Major New Project Will Reconnect the Fabric of Downtown (April, 65 comments)

Often, the articles that receive the most comments, while they may seem like the most popular, don’t match up with the articles which are read by the most people. Sometimes an article is shared very widely, though with little comment. Also note, the numbers given for each article are underestimates, since many people, including over 260,000 this year, come directly to the homepage.

Addison’s Books and Event Space, 126 South Gay Street, Knoxville, June 2022

So, what were the most read articles? Do any of them surprise you or do they match your interests? Did you miss some along the way? (Now’s a good time to catch up!) Here is #25-#11.

25. Three Businesses Moving from Downtown (and one announced) (July, 6,592 views)

24. Open Letter to the Knox County School Board (February, 6,665 views)

23. Downtown to Get Small Neighborhood Grocery Store (October, 6,880 views)

22. We Must Have a Better School Board (July, 7,113 views)

21. Update on Downtown Oak Ridge Plans (February, 7,182 views)

20. The Spice and Tea Exchange of Knoxville Opens Today on Gay Street (December, 7,191 views)

19. Addison’s Books to Open at 126 South Gay Street (March, 7,405 views)

18. Knox Mason to Close Its Doors July 2 (June, 7,437 views)

17. Honeysuckle Development Announced for South Knoxville (October, 7,615 views)

16. Dewhirst Properties Purchases Greyhound Bus Station: A Conversation with Mark Heinz (April, 7,744 views)

15. Vine Furniture and Property Sold; Store to Close (June, 8,015 views)

14. 71 South: New Restaurant Coming to Baker Creek Bottoms (August, 8,091 views)

13. New Development Comes to Happy Holler (1201 North Central Street) (January, 8,128 views)

12. Wests Purchase Property on Blackstock Avenue, Just Off World’s Fair Park, Plan Lunaverse (February, 8,186 views)

11. Po Richards and Hen Hoc Close Their Doors (April, 8,283 views)

So far in the top twenty-five articles, business news predominates (7), but there is room for development articles (6), and the surprising school systems sticks its head in there (2). Tomorrow we’ll look more closely at the top ten stories of this year as we get ready for the next!