You will hear from quite a few people that Knoxville is a “scrappy city”, which by definition means we are underdogs and fighters.
If you have wondered about the spirit of this town, then take a look at our football program at UT as one example of many, that this cities residents are proud, they fight, they don’t settle for mediocre and they will come back stronger after tough challenges. On the economic front it looks like Mayor Madeline Rogero is leading this “scrappy city” to bigger and brighter days. In the last month, we have hit three home runs- winning an IBM Smart Cities Grant, finishing as a Finalist in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge, and recognition as one of only three major US Cities to see economic recovery. So, if you have been wondering if this is a good place to move, or if this city is focused on jobs, environment, communities and sustainable growth, I think the answer is a resounding “YES!”.
According to the Reuters article only three major US cities, Knoxville, Dallas and Pittsburgh, have seen signs of economic recovery. This article interviews the Mayors from each of these areas and examines their focus on recovery in their respective cities. In speaking with Mayor Rogero she states, “People were losing their jobs. People were losing their homes”. The article continues to explain that:
“Nonetheless, the city continued investing in infrastructure and fostering private investment, often using funds from the 2009 federal stimulus plan. The goals were to attract businesses and to keep people working on construction jobs such as a housing project for the elderly.”.
Knoxville’s leadership stayed the course, made sound decisions, and the results show in our economic stabilization.
Read the full article: Only three major U.S. cities see economic recovery: study
IBM Smart Cities Winner
Knoxville was in competition with cities from around the globe and was one of a handful selected for the Smart Cities grant. A team of IBM experts will study our issues in advance and then provide solutions to the administration ( a consultation valued at $400,000). What they will be solving for:
“Knoxville’s application asks for advice on the most effective way to connect weatherization and energy education services to residents who receive emergency utility bill assistance. This will help reduce the demand each year for emergency assistance with utility bills for low-income ratepayers, particularly those in older, inefficient buildings.”
Sounds like a win-win for our environment and our citizens!
Read the full press release: Knoxville Wins Smarter Cities Challenge Grant
The gauntlet was thrown and Knoxville responded! As announced earlier this month in a press release:
“Knoxville has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.
The City of Knoxville was selected based on its innovative idea to create an urban food corridor. The idea was selected after input from citizens and a committee to create a unique business model that encompasses the entire urban food cycle by connecting land, farming jobs, processing facilities, food transit, sale, and composting.”
Congratulations to Mayor Rogero and her team for developing relationships in the community that lead to innovative, community based solutions, that address both current and future needs of our city.
Read the full press release: Knoxville A Finalist for Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge
It is no secret I have long been a supporter of Mayor Rogero. I have to say that she leads with a sense of balance between economic growth and sustainability, with a focus on diversity, inclusion and innovation. If you are looking for a city where the horizon continues to get brighter, where we are already showing that we are ahead of the economic curve, then you will be happy to call this “scrappy city” of Knoxville home.
Post by Shannon Foster-Boline