In 2016, City of Knoxville employees completed hundreds of projects. They delivered services – everything from fixing bridges and opening a new park to responding to police and fire calls. More than a few milestones were passed along the way.
At the end of each year, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero asks department directors for a report that details that year’s major accomplishments. Those reports from all City departments have been compiled and summarized, and the 2016 Department Year In Review is now available on the City’s website at www.knoxvilletn.gov/yearinreview.
A letter from Mayor Rogero outlines some of the year’s highlights. She credits the “professionalism, commitment and creativity” of the City’s nearly 1,600 employees and the collaboration with the City’s many partners as well as Knoxville’s residents and business owners.
Read Mayor Rogero’s letter below:
February 9, 2017
As we begin a new year that promises to be busy and productive at the City of Knoxville, we always find it valuable to look back at the year we just concluded. So I am pleased to present you with the detailed attached report, in which all of our City departments and offices have summarized their activities and accomplishments in 2016.
As you can see from the report’s 70+ pages, we have been busy! We opened the first new City park in a dozen years, Suttree Landing on the South Waterfront. We renovated the historic Administration Building at Lakeshore Park and moved our Parks and Recreation staff there. We opened a brand-new Public Works Service Center on Morris Avenue, modernizing and consolidating our service departments in an attractive new building with accessible public meeting space.
We continued our economic redevelopment efforts downtown and throughout the urban core, from Cumberland Avenue to Magnolia Avenue, Happy Holler to the South Waterfront. (We also opened brand-new public restrooms in the Market Square Garage! A much requested amenity.) We continued our efforts with our Save Our Sons initiative to build resources and opportunities for young men and boys of color in our community.
There’s an old political saying that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. We had both this year. We celebrated our City’s 225th anniversary with a series of events, including a birthday greeting written for the occasion by our first-ever Knoxville Poet Laureate, R.B. Morris. On the prose side, we continued to provide and improve the crucial public services that are the core mission of any local government. Our Police Department responded to 250,000 calls for service, and their efforts contributed to declines in crimes against persons and property. The Fire Department answered 21,000 emergency calls, and both KFD and KPD provided officers and equipment to help fight the wildfires in Gatlinburg. Our Public Service Department, meanwhile, maintained 1,232 acres of City land, 52 miles of greenways and 20,000 trees on public property, while also collecting more than 30,000 tons of brush and leaves from neighborhoods across the City.
From new garbage carts for every Knoxville household to new, credit-card-friendly parking meters downtown and in Fort Sanders, we made investments to improve our quality of life and modernize our services. Our Engineering Department oversaw the completion of 30 capital infrastructure projects, including replacing a bridge on Holbrook Drive, rebuilding the 700 block of South Gay Street, and installing a new pump and circulation system at Fountain City Lake. And to make sure we are addressing the needs of all of our residents and customers, our 311 Call Center answered 155,000 constituent phone calls.
This was the first full year that all three of our Public Assembly Facilities – the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center and the Knoxville Convention Center – were managed by a single contractor, SMG. Their report on the increasing activity level at all three buildings is included here. You can also read about the accomplishments of Knoxville Area Transit, our bus and trolley operator.
As you read the report, I hope you keep in mind that all of this – from fixing the smallest pothole to providing parks and recreation opportunities to our major economic development projects – is part of a broader mission: to continually improve the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in Knoxville, as well as our many visitors from around the world. We have great momentum here, and we are working to make Knoxville a vibrant, welcoming, sustainable city for today and for many years to come.
The efforts and initiatives detailed here represent the hard work and dedication of many people. First, there are the nearly 1,600 City employees I am fortunate to work with, who impress me daily with their professionalism, commitment and creativity. Second, there are the many partners we rely on in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, all of whom play vital roles in helping move Knoxville forward. And most important, there is the public we all serve. It is only with your involvement, your support, and the high expectations you set for us that we are able to do what we do.
Thank you for another fantastic year. It is a privilege to serve as your Mayor. Here’s to a great 2017!