In a monumental announcement late yesterday, historic buildings previously destroyed to make room for more useful structures will get a second chance. In the new ordinance, any structures which were in the past destroyed and are now deemed to have historic value must be rebuilt and the new structures removed.
Mayor Victor Ashe made the announcement in the Target parking lot on Broadway. Target was built on the site of a previously historic house. According to the new ordinance, Target must be removed and the house rebuilt. Since there were no accurate records or floorplans available, the house will be rebuilt according to the memories of neighbors.
This ordinance falls on the heels of another ordinance which prevents rotted out houses from being torn down (“demolition by neglect”) if it is deemed the structure has any history associated with it. These ordinances and others like them have been passed in an effort to appease certain Knoxville residents and organizations who feel old is much more valuable and worthy than anything new, and in an attempt to get back at Cherokee Country Club for not allowing certain city officials to join.
In his speech, Mayor Ashe said “This ordinance ensures that any developer who thought he got away with destroying a historic structure won’t, in fact, actually get away with it, even though they may have for 20 or 30 years.” He added, “Knoxville is on the cutting edge of squelching progress.”
Knoxpatch.com has learned that a historic hut was built on the site of the City-County Building in late 1734, and will be submitting a plan to remove the present structure and restore the hut to our best estimate of what the hut might have looked like.