South Knoxville residents speak out against new water tower

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- The construction of a new water tower isn't going over well with some South Knoxville neighbors who say it simply appeared out of nowhere.

Its construction began less than a month ago on Cherokee Trail and is expected to be complete this spring.

The Knoxville Utility Board worked with developers on the South Knoxville ridge top to come up with the water tower plan, but residents say they were left in the dark.

"It just popped up out of nowhere,” said Darryl Langlais, a resident of the Cherokee Bluff condominium complex near the tower. “We came home one day and it was all of the sudden being built there."

Cherokee Bluff Condominium residents say what was once a beautiful view of mother nature is now blocked.

"You can see the mountains on a clear day, but now you can see a really big metal object," Langlais said. "It looks like some kind of UFO landed in the woods over there."

Other area residents agree that the 180 foot water tower is out of place.

“It looks like something from the 'War of the Worlds, it just doesn't look good," said Scott Wherry, another Cherokee Bluff resident.

According to Wherry, the water tower is the first thing he sees now when he steps out on his balcony.

"It's a major eyesore,” he said. “It looks like something that's been here for a couple years."

The construction just began a few weeks ago and come spring, 500,000 gallons of water will serve the Cherokee Bluff residents, as well as the Woodlands.

"The need for the tank was determined based on an engineering evaluation of the water system and the kinds of flows we have to provide for domestic service, as well as fire protection," said Bill Elmore, KUB’s Chief Operating Officer.

"What we see here is entirely unnecessary," said Joe Hultquist, a city councilman representing South Knoxville.

Hultquist went on to say that KUB went behind the community's back when they created the eye sore.

"It will cost the entire city in terms of aesthetics and impact property values,” he said. “It's hard to measure the impact."

Hultquist believes KUB could have went with a pump system, but KUB says the tower was the best option.

"If it helps any, when it's finished the tank will be painted sky blue, which will help it to blend in with the sky line,” said Elmore.

Regardless, Hultquist said even though the tower is up, he won’t give up the fight.

The Dovetail Developers will pay more than $2 million for the project.

We will keep you posted on any new developments.


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