Knoxville (WVLT) – Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam was sworn in for his second term in office on Saturday afternoon.
Back in September he won the non-partisan election in a landslide victory, scoring 87 percent of the vote.
During the inauguration in the newly revitalized World’s Fair Park, Knoxvillian’s were quick to sing Haslam’s praises.
“He has been a valuable asset, bringing the city together and doing marvelous things in the city,” said Cherrie Farmer, a Knoxville resident.
As for the mayor, he couldn’t help but think of how things have changed over his first term.
“I really didn't know what I was in for on that day, four years ago,” he said.
Since then, his son got married and his daughters have gone to college.
Downtown has started a rapid revitalization.
“We opened the Regal Theatre,” Haslam said.
Thanks in part to some of his own investment.
Also, Knoxville has generated a budget surplus which has been poured back into equipment and repairs.
The Sunsphere has also been re-opened and the amphitheater, where the inauguration was held, is being renovated.
As for the future, Haslam says good things are in store.
“Connecting, that's what great cities do,” he said. “They connect parts of the city to each other instead of building geographical islands.”
In term two, he's pleading for more focus on the Fort Sanders neighborhood as well as re-developing the Cumberland Ave. strip.
Another of his goals is continuing for $1 billion south riverfront development that will continue for the next two decades.
Education remains another huge priority.
“Our message to the school system is this, we put great value in the work that you're doing and we want to do everything we can to help,” he said. “This should be our best two years ever because we're used to working together, the city's in good financial shape and nobody's running for re-election again. We can all focus on doing the right thing.
In addition to Haslam, city judge John Rossen also was sworn in along with council members Joe Bailey, Bob Becker, Marilyn Roddy and Chris Woodhull.