Stick to the Plan | Vote NO to Family Pride's subsidized housing proposal
  • Petitioning Knox County Commission

This petition will be delivered to:

County Commissioner's Office
Knox County Commission
Knox County Commissioner
Brad Anders
Knox County Commissioner
Larry Smith
Knox County Commissioner
Sam Mckenzie
Knox County Commissioner
Amy Broyles
Knox County Commissioner
Tony Norman
Knox County Commissioner
Jeff Ownby
Knox County Commissioner
Richard Briggs
Knox County Commissioner
Dave Wright
Knox County Commissioner
Michael Brown
Knox County Commissioner
Mike Hammond
Knox County Commissioner
Ed Shouse

Stick to the Plan | Vote NO to Family Pride's subsidized housing proposal

    1. Petition by

      Nathan Fray

      United States

On the corner of Central and Fifth stands a beautiful red-brick school. Residents and business owners in the surround neighborhoods are hopeful that historic Knoxville High will soon see the same revitalization that has been happening downtown. But their hopes may be in vain.


Back in 2007, Knoxville’s Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) published a report with a strategic plan to expand downtown northward by connecting Broadway, Central, and the Emory Place and Old North neighborhoods.

The report clearly states the goal to provide a seamless, pleasing connection between the neighborhoods and downtown” and how to accomplish it“Many of the recommendations in this plan are focused on creating a vibrant, mixed-use urban environment."

For downtown Knoxville to move northwards, developers need to create a destination worth visiting, a revitalized hub where people want to live, work, and play. Mixed-use spaces are the linchpin of this vision.   


Fast forward six years.

Historic Knox High is sandwiched between Fourth & Gill and the Old City. Beautiful but mostly empty, the building is up for sale. The 2007 MPC report makes mention of it: “Knoxville High School is an important historical landmark in the extension of the downtown area. This building has significant potential […] but is currently underutilized.”


In this year, the Knox County school system gave the building back to Knox County. In partnership with The East TN Community Design Center (ETCDC), Knox County invited developers and members of the local community to help decide how to make best use of the building. They came to conclusions similar to those found in the 2007 report. “Reuse of Knoxville High should provide a population to support existing retail and entertainment nearby."

Because the area already had multiple low-income housing developments, developers and residents were not in favor of more low income and subsidized housing.


Knox County later issued an RFP with the project’s overarching goal and specific criteria for evaluating proposals from prospective developers:  “Knox County hopes to ensure that the final development of the property (Historic High School) will be an asset to the community.”

NO low income housing 

- NO subsidized housing 

- YES to residential space of some kind 


Knox County received three proposals:

1.      Dewhirst Properties (mixed-use space) – Dewhirst’s mixed-use space would include seventy-five lofts, three 1,800 square foot commercial spaces, sixteen artist studio apartments, and one community venue.  

2.     Family Pride Corporation (low income senior housing) – Family Pride’s senior housing proposal includes one hundred apartments and six artist apartments.

3.     HKHS Partners, LLC (senior housing) – This LLC is a partnership of Family Pride and two other developers. 


Based on the 2007 MCP report’s vision and recommendations and the RFP’s criteria, you might think that the Dewhirst Properties proposal would be a shoo-in.

You’d be wrong. The Family Pride Corporation won the bid by 10 points.


Family Pride has secured a community investment tax credit loan by partnering with non-profit South Eastern Housing Foundation. This 0% loan requires that the housing to be limited to low income residents, specifically seniors whose incomes fall below 80% of adjusted median income for Knox County, currently $34,000.


The RFP’s criteria were adamantly against low-income/subsidized housing projects, yet the committee not only considered Family Pride’s proposal but also approved it. In addition, Family Pride proposed paying $500,000 in cash to the city. This cash offer is what tipped the scales for Family Pride, as the Dewhirst proposal was originally 40 points ahead before the county weighted in which proposal was most financially attractive to the county. Is the short-term benefit of $500,000 worth ignoring both the RFP suggestions and the 2007 MCP report?    


Many residents and business owners in North Knoxville are concerned, to say the least.

We’re not asking for special consideration for any of the proposals. We’re asking for consistency. If halfway through a football game, the refs decided that one team’s field goals were worth seven points, not three, spectators would be concerned.


The rules established before the game determine the winner. We want decision-makers to follow through with the original 2007 strategic plan and to follow the RFP’s criteria while evaluating and disqualifying proposals. We ask that they to make decisions based on long-term economic vitality, not short-term cash windfalls.


Later in November, the Knox County Commissioners will meet to either approve or deny Family Pride’s proposal. 

Please tell the Knox County Commissioners to stick to the plan.



Knox County Commission, County Commissioner's Office
Brad Anders, Knox County Commissioner
Larry Smith, Knox County Commissioner
Sam Mckenzie, Knox County Commissioner
Amy Broyles, Knox County Commissioner
Tony Norman, Knox County Commissioner
Jeff Ownby, Knox County Commissioner
Richard Briggs, Knox County Commissioner
Dave Wright, Knox County Commissioner
Michael Brown, Knox County Commissioner
Mike Hammond, Knox County Commissioner
Ed Shouse, Knox County Commissioner
Stick to the Plan | Vote NO to Family Pride's subsidized housing proposal

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures
    2. The Big Picture (Family Pride vs. Dewhirst)

      Nathan Fray
      Petition Organizer

      the amount of disposable income that residents have to spend in surrounding businesses matters...

      The big picture (Dewhirst vs. Family Pride)

      Explore the world on Minus. Chat, share and discover the world today!

    3. Reached 10 signatures
    4. Would You Want to Live Here?

      Nathan Fray
      Petition Organizer

      For those who don't know, the Historic Knox High building is beautiful. Check out and pass along this video. Would you want to live here?


    Reasons for signing

    • Dustin Jones KNOXVILLE, TN
      • 5 months ago

      I'm very impressed with the artistic revitalization of downtown and feel the Dewhirst Proposal is much better for this particular historic building.

    • melissa Nance MARYVILLE, TN
      • 5 months ago

      I worked in this building for 5 years until kicked out due to this sale. I want to see it used for the community as a whole.

    • Oslo Cole KNOXVILLE, TN
      • 5 months ago

      The growth and progress in this area of town is vital to the growth and progress of the city of Knoxville. This particular building is centrally located between the historic 4th and Gill neighborhood and the Old City and downtown. We mustn't stunt the growth of this community because of short-term monetary gain in lieu of the potential long-term growth and health of this community and the city of Knoxville as a whole.

    • Donna Brunson KNOXVILLE, TN
      • 8 months ago

      I want downtown and the surrounding areas to be vibrant and thriving areas of the city. Low income elderly housing will not accomplish this. In fact, it will do the opposite.

    • Bud Archer KNOXVILLE, TN
      • 10 months ago

      Successful revitalization and walkable connections to residential and entertainment areas is key when creating a successful city. This is the bridge between young nightlife and their residences. This is the key to successfully revitalizing north of the interstate divide.


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