Blount Mansion hosts holiday event

Knoxville’s historic Blount Mansion will host a holiday open house on Friday December 1, 2017, from 5 to 8 P.M. Blount Mansion’s Merry and Bright Christmas event is a totally free event, open to the public and family friendly. Guests are invited to come and take a candlelight tour of the Blount Mansion decked out in traditional Christmas finery.

The Blount Mansion, (also known as William Blount Mansion, located at 200 West Hill Avenue in downtown Knoxville) was the home of the only territorial governor of the Southwest Territory, William Blount.

The period correct decorations for the Blount Mansion holiday open house are generously provided and lovingly done by the Knoxville Garden Club as they have done for over 50 years. Photo submitted.

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided along with plenty of Christmas cheer. For more information call 865-525-2375, or email

KCDC expands available housing

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has issued a request for proposals to award up to 300 Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers to developers for existing, new or rehabilitated housing units. The vouchers, known as PBVs, will increase the availability of affordable housing in Knoxville and Knox County.

“This is a significant step toward building the supply of affordable housing in our community,” said Ben Bentley, executive director and CEO of KCDC. “We encourage area developers to review the requirements of the PBVs and submit proposals.”

PBVs provide stability to affordable housing stock. As opposed to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers that are issued to individuals or families, PBVs are attached to housing units. Owners of PBV units agree to rent the units to eligible tenants for the duration of the contract, which may range from 10 to 20 years.

Details about the request for proposals (RFP) for the Project-Based Vouchers are available at KCDC will accept proposals through June 30, 2019, or until issuance of 300 vouchers. KCDC plans to review proposals quarterly.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing high-quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency.

For more information, call 865-403- 1100 or visit

Bliss businesses moving to Gay St

Knoxville, Tn. — Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes have announced the businesses will move from 24 and 29 Market Square to a new location on Gay Street. Bliss opened at its current location in 2003, making it one of the oldest retail businesses currently operating on Market Square.

Tori Mason Shoes opened just under a year ago due to an expanding shoe department within Bliss. Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen’s Bliss Home brand currently has locations in west Knoxville, Nashville and a location in Louisville, KY scheduled to open July 2017.

The new location will be in the Miller’s Building at 445 Gay Street and will combine both Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes. The move will increase the total square footage of retail to 6,500 square feet from the existing 4,600 square feet.

“While we will miss Market Square, we are looking forward to this new opportunity. Gay Street has continued to change over the years and we are excited to be part of the continuing growth of retail there,” says Scott Sc​himmel.

​Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes will continue to be open in their current Market Square locations until the new location is complete. Anticipated occupancy is Fall 2017.

Knoxville Symphony hosts Show House

East Tennessee residents and visitors are invited to collect home decorating tips and inspiration at the 30th annual Knoxville Symphony League ShowHouse, which will be open until May 10, 2017.

The 4,510-square- foot home is located in a new subdivision on Artisan Row off Westland Drive and features the handiwork of 13 of the area’s most prestigious local designers and artisans. The Symphony ShowHouse will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Single tickets to tour the house are $15, while a season pass is $25.

The Foxhollow Goodson smart home In the newly developed neighborhood is wired for all smart home capabilities, including intuitive thermostat and panel to control all functions of the home. The home also features a master suite with spacious custom closets, formal dining room, great room with two-story ceilings, large patio with exquisitely manicured courtyard and chef-grade kitchen. This home highlights the juxtaposition of sleek industrial features and reclaimed wood.

“The Knoxville Symphony League has been organizing and sharing show houses with the community for the past 30 years,” said Rhonda Webster, chair of the Knoxville Symphony League ShowHouse, which benefits the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. “We hope everyone will visit the Symphony Show House and enjoy how unique and inspiring this particular home is while also being able to support the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.”

The on-site symphony gift shop also will offer decorating ideas and an assortment of items for sale. A portion of the items sold in the gift shop will benefit the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Guests will experience live music at various times while visiting the Symphony ShowHouse. Complimentary parking and shuttle services are available at First Church of God, located at 6708 Westland Drive.

The following local designers and artisans are involved with the 2017 Symphony ShowHouse:

Jeffrey Hansen and Linda Cox of Bill Fox Furniture

Scott Bishop of Westwood Antique & Design Market

Jeff Heiskell of Ethan Allen Design Center

Mitzi Mayer of Perpendicular Design

Gail Reed of Trend and Traditions

Susan Gates of The Velvet Pug

Joyce Simms of The Painted Pig

Kim Jackson and Meg Troutman of O.P. Jenkins

Janet Greer of Friedman’s Appliances

Regina Turner, artist

Tom Cover, artist


The Knoxville Symphony League (KSL) is a guild of volunteers who organize fundraising events to benefit the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, specifically the education and community partnerships programs, including scholarships for students involved in the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras. The Knoxville Symphony League hosts three pillar fundraisers each season, including the annual Symphony Ball, the Elegant Dining Series and the Symphony ShowHouse. These events fund KSO programs that provide cultural and educational outreach in the community.


National home sales up 5.2 percent

WASHINGTON – Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.2 percent in November 2016 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“New home sales showed growing strength in 2016, and builders expect more of the same next year,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “A key to continued growth in 2017 will be to ensure that prospective, qualified first-time home buyers have access to affordable home loans.”

“NAHB expects an increase in single-family home construction next year, fueled by a growing economy and solid job growth,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Moreover, builder confidence has risen on anticipation of reductions in regulatory costs, which is good news for home buyers and renters. However, the pace of construction will continue to be restricted by shortages of lots and labor in some markets.”

The inventory of new home sales for sale was 250,000 in November, which is a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $305,400.

Regionally, new home sales increased 43.8 percent in the Midwest and 7.7 percent in the West. Sales were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 3.1 percent in the South.


Time for planting dogwood trees

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Once again, Dogwood Arts encourages Knoxville to take part in the community-wide dogwood tree-planting day on Saturday, December 3, 2016 . As part of the Bazillion Blooms program, Dogwood Arts asks Knoxville communities to keep their neighborhoods and communities beautiful for years to come by planting not only dogwood trees, but flowering trees and shrubs, bulbs, and perennials during the Fall gardening season. Fall planting allows plants to develop a strong root system over the winter months, so they are strong for upcoming summer heat.

Since the inception of the Bazillion Blooms program in 2009, Dogwood Arts has been working towards a goal of planting 10,000 new trees in the Knoxville community in 10 years. Dogwood Arts is selling disease-resistant dogwood trees at or by phone at (865) 637-4561 through November 18. These 3’ – 4’ bare-root trees are available for $25 each or five for $100.


Trees ordered from Dogwood Arts must be picked up on Saturday, December 3, from 9 am to 12 pm at the UT Gardens off Neyland Drive. Trees will not be distributed at a later time or date. Photo submitted.

Since the initiation of Bazillion Blooms in 2009, Dogwood Arts, along with community and corporate partners, have planted more than 8,000 April-blooming, disease-resistant dogwood trees.

Bazillion Blooms, a program of Dogwood Arts, is sponsored by the ORNL Federal Credit Union. For more information, visit or call Dogwood Arts at (865) 637-4561.

Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty.

UT Gardens Plant Sale is Oct 8

UT Gardens in Knoxville will hold their fall plant sale on Saturday, October 8, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. A Preview Sale (for UT Garden members, UT Faculty & Staff and Volunteers only) will be offered on Friday, October 7, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Membership rates range from $15 per year for students to $100 for professional photographers.

A Bouquet Zinneas at the UT Farmers Market

This plant sale provides trees and shrubs that are known for being hardy for the Tennessee region. UT Gardens is located at 2518 Jacob Drive. From I-40 take Exit 386B onto Hwy 129 (Alcoa Hwy toward the Airport). From Hwy 129 take exit for Hwy 158 (Neyland Drive). Turn left at end of exit ramp. Turn left onto Joe Johnson Drive, and right at next light onto Chapman Drive. Visitor parking is directly across from the entrance to the UT Gardens, and is marked with signs for “2-Hr Visitor Parking.”

Featured plants for the sale include:

The Dogwood Appalachian series was developed by UT to provide the region with powdery mildew and anthracnose resistant dogwoods. Featured cultivars that will be available are ‘Appalachian Joy’, ‘Appalachian Spring’, ‘Appalachian Blush’, and ‘Appalachian Snow’.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas, cultivars ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Munchkin’ feature robust bloom sets that stay upright with heavy rains. Both cultivars provide fall interest with the leaves changing from green to burgundy. ‘Sweet Tea’ Mountain Gordlinia is a new and hard-to-find hybrid of the Franklin Tree and Lolly Bay which has improved disease resistance and cold hardiness. Blooms July – September and is semi evergreen.

For a list of featured plants for the sale, visit:

Hickman named to KCDC board

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has appointed Kimberly Hickman, a participant in the Section 8 homeownership program, to a two-year term as resident commissioner of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC). The KCDC Board of Commissioners consists of seven members and includes a resident commissioner who is a current participant in one of KCDC’s affordable housing programs.

“Kimberly is the first resident commissioner from our Section 8 program,” KCDC Executive Director Art Cate said. “She will bring a unique perspective on the direct community impact of the approximately 4,000 Section 8 rental and homeownership vouchers that we manage and administer. Kimberly has a passion for helping others, and I know that her experience in the Section 8 program and as a homeowner will be a tremendous asset to the board.”


Kimberly Hickman has been a resident of Knoxville since 2002 when she moved from Illinois with her family. Hickman was accepted to the Housing Choice Voucher Program and soon transitioned into the Section 8 Homeownership program. After participating in the required classes, she purchased her own home using the Section 8 voucher to pay a portion of her mortgage.

“I have been in the house with my children for almost two years. It took me five years total to save the money and complete the coursework while establishing credit,” said Hickman. “I have lived this process and that has given me a lot of insight that I hope to bring to this position.”

Hickman now resides in the East Knoxville community. She is a certified nursing assistant and the mother of two children, ages 15 and 16.

Hickman began her term on the KCDC Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1.

KCDC’s board oversees programs provided by the agency, including affordable public housing administration, redevelopment and rental assistance programs. Other board members are: Chair Daniel P. Murphy, professor of accounting at the University of Tennessee; Vice Chair Jacqueline Arthur, general manager of the Three Rivers Market; John Winemiller, law partner at Merchant & Gould; Bruce Anderson, general counsel at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital; Gloria Garner, retired vice president of internal/external affairs for the Knoxville Area Urban League; and Bob Whetsel, retired City of Knoxville director of redevelopment.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, visit

East TN Plant Swap scheduled

The Fall 2016 East Tennessee Plant Swap will be held at New Harvest Park, located at 4775 New Harvest Lane, Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The swap starts at 10:00am. (No exchanges before that, please.) The potluck lunch will be at 11:30am.

Everyone is invited to attend the Fall meeting of the East Tennessee Plant Swap. The ETPS is a group of men and women who love plants and enjoy sharing them with friends.

There is no fee for attendance and no money can exchange hands for the plants. This is a great way to add lovely plants to lawns and gardens at absolutely no cost.

Editor’s Note: If you do not have plants to share, you are encouraged to attend anyway. You can bring gardening magazines, small tools, potholders, wind chimes, or any small items gardeners might enjoy. Over the years those new to the meeting have brought canned foods such as homemade pickles or beets, garden signs, books and homemade bags.

Urban Home & Garden tour offered

The East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) presents the inaugural Urban Home & Garden Tour Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 from 5:30-8 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Starting with the check-in station at the historic Phoenix Building, 418 S. Gay St., the tour will offer access to downtown Knoxville spaces with extraordinary outdoor components. Tickets for the event are $30 each, and all proceeds will benefit the Design Center.

“This self-guided tour of downtown will allow individuals to see creative outdoor features in downtown Knoxville that will inspire participants to truly utilize the outdoor areas around their own homes and see what downtown has to offer as a residential option,” said Wayne Blasius, executive director for the East Tennessee Community Design Center.

Featured properties on the tour include:

Crown Court Condos

Emporium Lofts

Gallery Lofts

Jackson Ateliers

Kendrick Place

Marble Alley Lofts

The Carson

The Holston

“Many people think they have to live outside the city center to have great outdoor options,” said Daryl Johnson, ETCDC board member and Urban Home & Garden Tour committee chair. “The Urban Home & Garden Tour will overturn that assumption, and attendees will enjoy residential buildings that are rich with history and fresh with original design and charm.”

For more information, visit

NAHB hosts forecast webinar

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will host its Semi-Annual Construction Forecast Webinar on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, featuring industry experts, including Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac, for a lively discussion on what’s ahead for housing. Topics will include:

Current market conditions as well housing’s potential and most likely path for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
Recovery hurdles like lot and labor shortages, and tight credit.
Tailwinds pushing housing such as demographics and pent-up demand.
Federal Reserve actions and their impacts.
Regional and state analysis and factors, such as employment, that affect housing

The schedule of speakers includes:
Robert Dietz, PhD, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, NAHB
Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac
Robert Denk, Senior Economist, NAHB

Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar.

Registration for NAHB members is $29.95 and $49.95 for non-members. To register for the webinar or for additional information, please visit Before the event, participants will receive an email with specific log-in instructions to gain access to the live meeting. After the event, the webinar will be available in the NAHB archives to all registrants for on-demand viewing.


Fourth & Gill tour offered

Knoxville’s Historic Fourth + Gill Neighborhood hosts its 26th Anniversary Tour of Homes on Sunday, April 24, 2016 from 1-6 p.m. The tour begins at the stately Central United Methodist Church, one of the city’s most beautiful examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Visitors may visit one of Knoxville’s premier historical districts and step inside several neighborhood homes, a condominium inside the recently renovated Brownlow School Lofts, and the prominent Greystone mansion.

This year’s tour showcases the art of six local artists whose work will be displayed on porches throughout the neighborhood. The tour coincides with the Dogwood Arts Open Gardens and Walking Trails that feature four neighborhood gardens and several notable trees.

Maps (which include addresses for the gardens) for the self-guided tour are located inside the special event mailbox on the west side of Luttrell Street, adjacent to the Brownlow School Lofts.

Located less than two miles from downtown Knoxville, the Historic Fourth + Gill Neighborhood features over 280 residential structures including single-family homes, duplexes, and apartment and condominium buildings.

The Fourth + Gill Neighborhood Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to build and to sustain a vital urban community by protecting and preserving the historic architecture of the area and by promoting a strong sense of community.

Tickets may be purchased on the tour day for $12 (free for children 12 and under) at the Central United Methodist Church (201 Third Avenue) from 1:00-5:00pm.


UT Gardens hosts plant sale

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Spring has sprung and now is the ideal time to shop for some unique plants for your garden. The University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville is holding its spring plant sale on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A preview sale will be held on Friday, April 8, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. for all UT employees, Gardens volunteers, and Friends of the UT Gardens. Friends will also receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases. If you are not a Friend yet, you will also be able to sign up for a membership at the preview sale and receive the member discount on purchases.

This year’s event will be offering brief informational sessions throughout the day on many of the choice selections of perennials, trees, shrubs, roses, delicious spring greens, cloned and new Lenten rose (hellebore) introductions, blueberry planting basics and flower garden design. Special guest and author, John Tullock will be speaking and signing his newest book: Seed to Supper: Growing and Cooking Great Food No Matter Where You Live–100+ Delicious Recipes & Growing Tips for Windowsills to Wide Open Spaces.

Featured spring-blooming perennials at the sale are bleeding hearts and baptisia (false indigo). Some edibles include Blueberry varieties: ‘Brightwell’, ‘Pink Lemonade’, ‘Tifblue’, and ‘Premier’. Thornless blackberries: ‘Natchez’ and ‘Triple Crown’. Figs: ‘Black Mission’, ‘Brown Turkey’, ‘Ischia’, and ‘Panache’. A vast array of herbs including Italian parsley, assorted mints, hardy selections of rosemary and lavender, and various thymes and sages. Ornamental perennials, trees and shrubs that will be available include a wide selection of choice conifer selections not easily found, the new ‘Alley Cat’ variegated redbud tree, the new seedless and double flower ‘Smoothie’ series of Rose-of-Sharon shrub, ‘Moonlight’ Chinese hydrangea vine, and new selections of Chinese fringe flower shrub.


UT Gardens is located at 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Knoxville. The spring plant sale will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Residents CBID meeting tonight

The Downtown Knoxville Central Business Improvement District will host a residents meeting on March 29, 2016 at the Knoxville Chamber office, 17 Market Square, Suite 201. Residents are invited for a social time starting at 5:45 p.m.

The evening’s program agenda includes a panel discussion from 6:15pm – 7:00pm. The topic is “Property Management: 101, What Every Residential Property Owner Should Know.”

Discussion will focus on three different types of Home Owners Association (HOA) Management. The types include those organizations that hire an in-house employee to manage their HOA (presented by Greg Sherrill), those that have a contract with an outside agency to manage the HOA (presented by Rhonda Bird), and “Do It Yourself” HOAs that are self-managed by owners (presented by Amanda Mohney).

For more information, contact Michele Hummel at 865-246-2654.