Thursday, February 26, 2009

Laying the Ground Work

There is a lot of earth moving at Pellissippi Place as heavy equipment makes way for the boulevard that will mark the main road through the research and development park in Alcoa, Tennessee. These photos tell the beginning of the story for the park as Blount Excavating prepares the land for the new road, underground utilities and storm water drainage.

Summer 2009 will see even more changes after the initial infrastructure is installed. As warmer weather breaks in the Innovation Valley, work will begin on the walking trail and architectural structures for the park-like setting that will make Pellissippi Place so desirable.

Down the road, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is expected to begin improvements to the interchange and expand S.R. 33 (Old Knoxville Highway) to Hunt Road by 2010. That project could take from 18 to 24 months. It is a reminder that projects of this size and scope take time to accomplish. But, the reward should be well worth the wait.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Breaking Ground

Pellissippi Place is officially under construction. On November 5, representatives from four local governments launched an ambitious research and development park in the Innovation Valley/Oak Ridge corridor in a plan to secure the long-term viability of quality jobs in the region.

Under bright sunshine and brisk winds, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham, Alcoa Mayor Don Mull and Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor turned the first soil at Pellissippi Place during a ground breaking ceremony. They were joined by U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. and State Representative Doug Overbey.

More than 100 people turned out for the ground breaking held in Alcoa, Tennessee, including the CEO's of the Knoxville and Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Mike Edwards and Fred Forster.

Despite the continued downward slide in the national economy, Pellissippi Place is generating interest. But, there is a long way to go before the first tenant moves into the park. With a 30 to 50 year time frame ahead, there is plenty of time to prepare the park so it maximizes its mission. In my next post, I'll tell you more about what is actually happening at the park. In the meantime click here to see a photo slideshow of current work underway at Pellissippi Place.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Innovation & Optimism Live Here

Despite the gloomy economic outlook, there remains a strong sense of optimism in East Tennessee. Rather than duck and cover, business leaders in four communities are digging in and building a foundation for the future of high tech. Yesterday, Blount and Knox Counties with the cities of Alcoa and Maryville broke ground on an innovative research and development park in the Innovation Valley.

Pellissippi Place has the advantage of putting researchers and scientists at the doorstep of DOE labs in Oak Ridge. The location is ideal, but it is the commitment to blend progress with preservation that makes the park innovative. I'll blog more about that in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, it's probably a good idea that I introduce myself and tell you what I hope this blog will achieve.

I am Bryan Daniels. A native East Tennessean, I grew up in a rural farming community in Green County. I still own my grandfather's farm there. It's where I go to get away, although I end up repairing fence, bush hogging and well, you get the idea. Despite my tug o' war with the weeds and tractor repairs, the farm that sits in the valley beneath the Great Smoky Mountains is a part of my family fabric. It taught me a work ethic and respect for the land that gives focus to my day job.

My profession isn't as intriguing as that of a scientist working on a genetic breakthrough nor as high profile as a sports superstar. But it has an honorable mission that helps people by attracting jobs and prosperity to communities. As the Executive Vice President of the Blount Economic Development Board, it's my pleasure to ensure Pellissippi Place is everything our collective communities envision. The LEED certified, mixed-use park puts R&D within reach of everything it needs to succeed. Unlike traditional R&D, Pellissippi Place will include commercial, professional office, residential and an destination entertainment complex designed along a river walk in a lush park setting.

As Pellissippi Place grows, I (and hopefully, a few "guests") will chart progress on this blog with photos and information. We have high expectations for our communities fueled by a sense of optimism that breeds innovation. The future is just ahead and Pellissippi Place is poised for every opportunity.