Knoxville Tennessee NewsAt today’s Equity Awards breakfast, Mayor Madeline Rogero and the City of Knoxville’s Community Development Director Becky Wade recognized community development projects that prioritize fair and affordable housing, job creation, and access and inclusion of persons with disabilities. The new “Community Impact” award category highlighted two projects that positively affected City neighborhoods.

“Today’s award recipients make Knoxville a better place to live for everyone,” Mayor Rogero told the event’s attendees at The Standard on Jackson Avenue. “These partners and projects extend the City’s community development efforts to revitalize low-and moderate-income communities and provide job and recreation opportunities to all residents.”


The 2017 Equity Awards honorees:


Housing Programs


  • Positively Living’s Supportive Housing Program provides housing and case management to men living with a combination of mental illness, substance abuse and catastrophic illness.


  • Kennie Riffey and Second Story Construction tackle difficult and complex repairs in their work on owner-occupied rehabilitation projects. Riffey also provides job training and work experience to unemployed residents.


Economic Development


  • Jason Stevens, Brian Hann and Diane Reynolds, and the owners of SoKno Taco Cantina took a vacant, blighted building on a significant intersection in South Knoxville and turned it into a vibrant restaurant, taqueria and social hub. The project, which utilized a grant from the City’s Commercial Façade Improvement Program, also created 50 new jobs.



Access and Inclusion Programs


  • Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Co-op provides therapy, education and opportunities for people with disabilities through adaptive recreational activities.


Community Impact


  • East Tennessee Community Design Center and Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum are the first recipients of this new award, which honors projects that make a positive impact on Knoxville neighborhoods.


East Tennessee Community Design Center contributed significant vision and design work for the Broadway Corridor Task Force. The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum developed the former Howell Nursery site into walking trails and gardens, as well as founded the Center for Urban Agriculture as a place where residents can learn about gardening, behold the work of family and market gardeners, and get their own hands in the dirt.



For more information about the City’s Community Development Department and its housing, grant and accessibility programs, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/development.

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