The Knoxville City Council approves funding of no more than $150,00 to hire a company to apply for grants to help fund the more than $50 million dollar pedestrian bridge project which will connect The University of Tennessee to South Knoxville.
The bridge would consist of walking and bike trails only, starting from Thompson-Boling Arena across to the South Knox waterfront over the Tennessee River.
City officials are planning on using the majority of federal grant funding to pay for the project which includes the RAISE grant.
Original Story: A bridge connecting The University of Tennessee to the southern banks of the Tennessee River is under development and will be known as the Pedestrian Bridge.
The bridge would consist of walking and bike trails only, starting from Thompson-Boling Arena across to the South Knox waterfront, connecting the campus to South Knoxville and the 18 miles of greenways that are part of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness.
The river is a natural amenity for the university but is also a natural barrier, making it harder to expand the campus.
Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville, said the expansion will help the south Knox community.
“If it’s built, we will be able to promote that as another way to get around our town, and I think that’s great for visitors and great for Knoxvillians and great for students and their family and also great for business and whatever develops because of it,” said Bumpas.
The campus continues to grow because of Tennessee’s record-breaking enrollment numbers. This project will help accommodate the students and individuals coming to Knoxville.
“I think the bridge and the way people will engage with the waterfront is just another opportunity,” said Bumpas.
This project has been discussed by stakeholders, university and city officials for 15 years now. The Knoxville City Council will decide this evening whether to approve the funding of the $55 million bridge. Bumpas says this will change Knoxville and help not only the university but the city as well.
“You will just see this ability for people to walk and commute that way and ride their bikes or however they’re going to use that bridge to get across. I think that’s going to be great for business because we’ve all created our own pathways to south Knoxville but to have one that is a little more dedicated for that form of transportation versus car, I think, will be huge,” said Bumpas.
City officials are planning on using the majority of federal grant funding to pay for the project. They will apply for the RAISE grant. The deadline for applying for the grant is February 28.
Story courtesy of WVLT