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Looking Back on 2023

In 2023, the City accomplished great things:

Crime went down.

Direct City funding helped our housing partners open or break ground on nearly 600 units of affordable housing.

New, imaginative public spaces were created at Morningside Park, Fort Kid, throughout the Urban Wilderness, and elsewhere.

But as Mayor Indya Kincannon put it in her Dec. 16, 2023 Inauguration speech, pledging to continue to focus on high-quality neighborhood-building everyday services: 

“We all love these big milestone projects, but I know from many conversations at people’s front doors, it’s the less visible stuff that people rely on for a high quality of life.

“So we will also be Brilliant at the Basics. We will make sure our streets are paved, our traffic signals modernized, our sidewalks maintained, and our trash picked up. We will find a long-term solution to our aging stormwater infrastructure.”

Here are some of the services and solutions – big and small – that the dedicated men and women who work for the City of Knoxville delivered in 2023.



High-priority crimes decreased significantly in 2023 from the previous year.

The number of murder victims dropped from 36 in 2022 to 24 in 2023, a nearly 35 percent reduction – and the lowest total in the City of Knoxville since 2019.

As of Jan. 2, 2024, 17 of the 24 murder investigations were closed – a 70 percent closure rate. 

Additionally, the number of non-fatal shooting victims dropped 12 percent compared to 2022. That reduction included a 54 percent decrease in murders and a 20 percent decrease in non-fatal shootings in the East District.  
Knoxville also saw a notable decrease in several property crime categories in 2023, including a 34 percent decrease in reported car burglaries, an 11 percent decrease in reported motor vehicle thefts and a 7 percent decrease in reported burglaries.

Knoxville Police Dept
Knoxville Police Department cruiser

Also: In 2023, KPD completed the department-wide Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training, delivering the eight-hour course to more than 400 sworn and professional support staff members.

KPD remains the first and only ABLE agency in the state of Tennessee. 


On May 27, the Safe Haven Baby Box at Station 17, 4804 Western Ave., was used to safely surrender a baby boy. This Baby Box was the first in Tennessee, and this was the first baby saved. More details HERE.

KFD Baby Box
Safe Haven Baby Box at Knoxville Fire Department Station 17

KFD has been training a new recruit class that will graduate in January. We’ll soon be welcoming the City’s newest 28 firefighters!

KFD Recruits
Knoxville Fire Department Recruits

Other Fire Department highlights in 2023:

Donated a 1997 Emergency One Hurricane Pumper firetruck to Fulton High School to be used in its firefighting education program

Moved administrative and Fire Marshal’s Office staff into the City’s new Public Safety Complex – a taxpayer savings, as office space has been rented for 40-plus years

Honored by the State Fire Commission for providing the highest number of firefighter training hours in Tennessee


In 2023, two existing parks – Morningside and Fort Kid – got combined $6.8 million in state-of-the-art makeovers, thanks to generously collaborative partners and community support!

The new Fort Kid reopened on March 6. The $1.3 million in improvements include a new accessible play surface, a 35-foot-tall tower and 18-foot-tall slide, climbing and balancing poles, a fully accessible merry-go-round, a toddler play area, and an interactive and fully accessible pathway, especially unique due to artist Dustin Durham’s colorful mural.

Donors included Thomas and Lindsey Boyd, the Downtown Knoxville Alliance and Visit Knoxville.

Fort Kid
New and improved Fort Kid

Meanwhile, on Dec. 14, the community celebrated the completion of the BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park. 

BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of Tennessee’s $5.5 million grant funded major improvements to a portion of the 36-acre City park, including a new playground, pavilion, multipurpose field and other amenities.

Ribbon cutting at Morningside Park
Ribbon cutting of BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park

Other Parks and Recreation highlights in 2023:

More than $1 million invested in park and recreation center playgrounds

37 tennis, pickleball and basketball courts resurfaced at 11 parks

747 children enjoyed Summer Camp programs, while 522 participated in the City’s After School Program


Who works harder than the men and women of the Public Service Department?

The big numbers from 2023 say it all about the great services delivered by Public Service crews. 


• 64 million – pounds of brush and leaves collected in neighborhoods citywide

• 103,000 – pounds of household hazardous waste responsibly disposed of by our Transfer Station teams

• 2.5 million – dollars collected at the Solid Waste Transfer Station by disposing of 36,658 tons of trash and construction and demolition debris from businesses and residents

• 77,837 – bags of litter collected by the Downtown and night shift crews who keep the center city and Market Square looking their best

• 12,787 – pounds of compostable food scraps collected the Knoxville Compost Project during the second year of the program; that’s up by 3,272 pounds from 2022

• 2,434 – hours devoted to graffiti removal and improving the facades of notable historic buildings

• 8,862 – park acres mowed

• 242 – in August 2023 alone – emergency tree removal calls

• 22,115 – miles of right-of-ways swept; this is the equivalent of driving from Knoxville to L.A. 10 times!

• 593 – loads of trash removed by the zone crews, totaling over 2.1 million pounds of trash

Leaf Pickup
Leaf pickup by City's Public Service Department


The numbers tell much of the Engineering Department’s story:

$36,060,329 – dollars invested in construction of capital projects
23 – capital budget construction projects administered
15 – in-house design projects
42.63 – miles of streets resurfaced
12,630 – linear feet of sidewalk replaced
11,130 – linear feet of new sidewalk installed
151 – curb cuts constructed
185 – crosswalks installed or refreshed

Large projects include the I-275 Business Park Access Improvements Project; Pleasant Ridge Road Phase II; improvements to Washington Pike from I-640 to Murphy Road; upgrades to Waterfront Drive; Magnolia Avenue Streetscapes Phase 3; Broadway, Old City, Sevier Avenue and Burlington Streetscapes projects, and sidewalks on Boyds Bridge Pike, Old Broadway and Buffett Mill Road. 

In addition, work progressed on such varied projects as the Cradle of Country Music Park Pier 865 Project, repairs to Fire Station No. 6, repairs to Third Creek Greenway, and new amenities added to Fort Kid and the Urban Wilderness.

Did you know? A new connective Lancaster Drive sidewalk was officially opened in November – and it was the City’s third major investment in pedestrian corridors in the past year. 

Earlier projects: Texas Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.

Total investment for the three sidewalks: $6 million!

Coming in 2024: A $2 million Streetscapes project in Burlington.

Aerial of sidewalk at Atlantic Ave
Aerial of Atlantic Avenue sidewalks

Other Engineering highlights in 2023:

The Transportation Engineering Division converted the existing bike lanes on Council Place (0.2 miles) and North Broadway (0.35 miles) to protected bike lanes. Vertical and highly visible delineators were installed.

Council Place biking
Protected bike lanes at Council Place in South Knoxville

Through the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program, Transportation Engineering facilitated the installation of traffic-calming devices in 14 different neighborhoods throughout the City, which included a total of 98 speed humps.

Traffic calming
Neighborhood traffic-calming device

The Stormwater Engineering Division inspected approximately 1,500 linear feet of communications duct bank to support construction of a new multi-use stadium in East Knoxville.

Stormwater Engineering also managed the ongoing citywide Stormwater Asset Management Project inventory, in addition to inspecting, designing and rehabilitating 1,500 feet of dilapidated pipe.

Adopt-A-Stream work removed pollutants from more than 3 miles of stream and riparian buffer zones, and more than 1 mile of stream bank and riparian buffer zone was “deep cleaned” through the Emergency Creek Remediation Program.

Also in 2023: In order to better serve Knoxville’s development community, including people building and working on their own homes, the Engineering Department created a new division called Engineering Development Services. This new division focuses on permitting, inspecting, and certifying site development projects.

The aim is to reduce the time it takes to get a permit and allow more time for reviewers to meet with and assist residents as they work through the permitting process.

By restructuring, improving technology, and working to create clearer rules and expectations, staff reviewed more than 3,750 plans submittals in 2023. 

That’s a 25 percent increase from 2022 and a 275 percent increase from 2013, without adding any City staff. 

With all of these new projects underway, the inspection team has diligently ensured these projects are properly constructed while keeping our streets and streams clean of construction site runoff. 

In fact, they have performed over 11,000 site inspections in 2023!


In 2023, the Fleet Services Department acquired and placed into service 150 new vehicles. That included 18 all-electric vehicles and 17 hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.

Also, the City of Knoxville was recognized by NAFA Fleet Management Association as one of the 100 Best Fleets in America for the 4th year in a row.

EV car
One of the City's electric vehicles

And the City was named a “Leading Fleet” by APWA and Government Fleet magazine, a designation earned by only 50 public fleets in the United States each year.
The department’s technicians do yeoman’s work in keeping the City’s fleet in top-notch shape. Fleet maintenance and repair shops completed 10,599 repair order tickets to keep City vehicles and equipment running and providing services to residents every day.

EV Technician car
Technician working on City's fleet


Affordable housing is a citywide priority – and every City dollar devoted to creating more workforce housing leverages about $15 from the City’s housing partners.

This year, a total of 194 new affordable apartments and permanent supportive housing units opened at The Ammons, Caswell Manor and Inskip Flats.

In addition, builders broke ground on another 400 affordable housing units in 2023 – at Callahan Flats, Liberty Place, Riverside at Holston, and Grosvenor Square.

Inskip Flats
Ribbon cutting at Inskip Flats


Throughout 2023, the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment (ONE) worked with 73 established neighborhood organizations in a multitude of ways.

ONE also assisted 17 new groups. That’s a total of 90 groups.

Neighborhood-strengthening services included help with the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program, the Neighborhood Small Grants Program, National Night Out, a kickball tournament, a wiffleball tournament, coordination with the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, and the Healthy Knoxville program.

Wiffleball Tournament Winners
Westwood won the 6th Annual Wiffleball Tournament in 2023

In addition, ONE manages the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitats activities with the neighborhoods.

Gardens at Post Office
Installing a butterfly garden at the Post Office on Fourth and Gill