We have great momentum as a city. I want to keep building on our successes, and continue to lift up Knoxville and all of its citizens. Let's have a community conversation about what's next.
I'm currently working on several Big Ideas for Knoxville including:
Break the Guinness World Record for the most students learning how to program computers at the same time. Computer skills are vital for the current generation of students to get the high-paying jobs of today and the future. We're aiming to set the record on September 22 with over 10,000 students participating in schools across Knoxville and our surrounding counties. Learn more and join the effort.
Set up savings accounts for every child in Knoxville to increase financial security and improve lives economically, socially, and psychologically. Saving accounts develop financial capability and confidence. We can lead the state and the nation in preparing our young people for success. We will officially announce this initiative this fall.
Create a Knoxville Technology Council. Knoxville has a vibrant and growing technology industry. The KTC will promote, connect, and develop the companies and organizations that are helping to drive innovation in our region. We're off to a fast start and we will plan to launch the KTC this summer. www.knoxtech.org
Create a co-working space in Knoxville to promote and support new companies which will in turn help to build our City's economy and create great jobs for years to come. There is a co-working space coming to Old City and we're working to add more.
Offer access to 1GB (Gig) high-speed internet to all Knoxville businesses and residents. Tennessee is already a leader in high-speed Internet with Chattanooga at the forefront. We know the value of infrastructure in Knoxville with Interstate 40 and Interstate 75 and a network of railways and rivers. Internet infrastructure is just as important (arguably more important) today as transportation networks have been to our economic vitality. The Internet could be viewed as a luxury for the companies, households, and students lucky enough to have access. I think the better view is that the Internet is fundamental infrastructure for our community and we should do as Chattanooga has done and put Knoxville and East Tennessee on the map as having the fastest and most accessible Internet in the world.
Offer free public WiFi Internet downtown and in other locations where people gather and visit. We know how to do it because The University of Tennessee provides free public WiFi Internet access on its campus to students and visitors alike. A city-wide initiative will help promote economic vitality, education, and tourism.
Offer more job training for the jobs of today and the jobs of the future. I'm working on ways we can expand our job training capacity in areas like welding and machining and IT. These fields have great jobs available today and the demand for skilled workers in these areas and others is growing. Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology are doing great work. Let's double down on our successes and lead the state in the creation of high-quality jobs in Knoxville.
Create a fund to encourage local entrepreneurs to start their companies in Knoxville and attract entrepreneurs to bring their startups to our city.
Bring the USS Clamagore WWII submarine to Knoxville to honor our veterans and create a museum that will serve residents and attract visitors. It's currently in Florida and a group in Knoxville has been working for a few years to figure out a way to bring it to Knoxville.
More ideas from the community that I've received through Facebook and through IdeasForKnoxville.com
- Start a bike share program in Knoxville. (The city has sent out RFPs on this.)
- Bring Amtrak to Knoxville to provide passenger rail service throughout the East Coast.
- Make the Sunsphere a tourist destination. Charge a small fee to ride to the top and take photos and use the money to improve and maintain the structure.
- Create an Innovation District. (This project is underway.)
- Add a streetcar service or elevated monorail transportation system in Knoxville.
- Bring a children's museum to downtown Knoxville. (Note: I'm on the board of The Muse children's science museum in Chilhowee Park and we're actively exploring opportunities to serve more children and families in Knoxville.)