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Old 11-01-2012, 04:24 AM
 
121 posts, read 152,077 times
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I used to live in Knoxville as a kid and my parents used to run a Chinese restaurant on the strip back in the 80's up to the early 90's. We left in the early 90's to CA and I haven't been back since. I am now in my 30's and have been reading about the city's urban development over the years with a lot of interest.

I've always had a soft spot for Knoxville even though it was a mix of "dirty south" and drunken college kids especially where I lived (Ft. Sanders) back in the day. I guess that was part of the charm.

The historic area of Knoxville appeals to me the most. My question is how have the city's social dynamics changed? Is there more actual diversity there now besides overseas international students at UT.

Back when I lived there anything outside of the immediate UT area other than black or white was regarded as a walking stereotype or freakshow a lot of times. It could get pretty uncomfortable.

Also, how easy is it to rent out a home in the historic North Knoxville and fourth and gill area if I do end up buying a place?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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There are enough Koreans to maintain a church, Turks to maintain a community center, Muslims a mosque. There's been a bit of an influx of Hispanics but that has ebbed with the decline of construction. I know an oriental woman who owns in 4th & gill. The mailboxes on my rental look like a UN roster but strangely the most hispanic ones have been attached to anglo loooking renters and my most ethnic looking renter (NA or adopted?) had a very anglo name.

I guess my point is it ain't Toronto but you should be fine. Though you might get an occasional stare - what's your comfort level with that?

Quote:
Also, how easy is it to rent out a home in the historic North Knoxville and fourth and gill area if I do end up buying a place?
I don't recommend being an absentee landlord anywhere - don't buy a place unless you plan to be here for a while.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:53 AM
 
121 posts, read 152,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
There are enough Koreans to maintain a church, Turks to maintain a community center, Muslims a mosque. There's been a bit of an influx of Hispanics but that has ebbed with the decline of construction. I know an oriental woman who owns in 4th & gill. The mailboxes on my rental look like a UN roster but strangely the most hispanic ones have been attached to anglo loooking renters and my most ethnic looking renter (NA or adopted?) had a very anglo name.
It sounds like there are way more hispanics in Knoxville and the south in general. Then again hispanic is just a regional and lingual designation they could be white, black, or asian and still be called "hispanic."


Quote:
I guess my point is it ain't Toronto but you should be fine. Though you might get an occasional stare - what's your comfort level with that?
I have a pretty thick skin so i'm fine with that. Honestly, if I live there i'll probably apply for CCW just to feel secure around the city though.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Behind You!
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Originally Posted by scubamaniac View Post
I have a pretty thick skin so i'm fine with that. Honestly, if I live there i'll probably apply for CCW just to feel secure around the city though.
I carry everywhere I go BUT, If feel you need to CCW just to move into a neighborhood, then should probably look elsewhere. There's a difference between being ready for something bad to find you, and placing yourself in that bad situation.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by snatale1 View Post
I carry everywhere I go BUT, If feel you need to CCW just to move into a neighborhood, then should probably look elsewhere. There's a difference between being ready for something bad to find you, and placing yourself in that bad situation.
I'm also a gun owner in CA and despite being politically moderate leaning liberal i'm a huge proponent of gun rights. I've owned handguns responsibly for 10+ years. I don't put myself in bad situations but i'm also realistic about situations that can and have happened when you're in a place where you stick out. I don't think Knoxville is Mogadishu or anything but there's always that 1% who may feel like you're an easy target.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:10 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
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I feel that you really need to come back and look around before pontificating. Seriously. I'm a left-leaning moderate that does NOT believe in gun control, either. I'm also from the northeast and lived in Florida for ten years. I know from liberal and diversity. I've lived here seven years and just by your description I think you will be shocked at the change in the city. We have one of the most liberal mayors now, a woman that cut her teeth working for farm worker's rights with Cesar Chavez in California. Creeksitter is correct. It's not Toronto. But just by reading your posts I can tell that you have no idea what has happened in the years since you left. And really, it's been 20 years. A lot has changed in this country and world, too.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:22 PM
 
121 posts, read 152,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
I feel that you really need to come back and look around before pontificating. Seriously. I'm a left-leaning moderate that does NOT believe in gun control, either. I'm also from the northeast and lived in Florida for ten years. I know from liberal and diversity. I've lived here seven years and just by your description I think you will be shocked at the change in the city. We have one of the most liberal mayors now, a woman that cut her teeth working for farm worker's rights with Cesar Chavez in California. Creeksitter is correct. It's not Toronto. But just by reading your posts I can tell that you have no idea what has happened in the years since you left. And really, it's been 20 years. A lot has changed in this country and world, too.
Fair enough . Perhaps i'm thinking too much of the bad old days of Knoxville. I've never seen so many physical altercations (between adults no less) and public intoxication in any other state than I did growing up there.

Ft. Sanders, downtown, and large parts of blue collar neighborhoods off sutherland were all pretty ghetto back in the day.

Still, Knoxville had a certain edge back then and the music scene at the time was pretty cool.

I'll definitely live there for a bit before deciding anyhow.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
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Well, Fort Sanders is a college haven. It's not for mature adults or families. There is still crime there, mostly of opportunity. It's a bad mix when one of the worst neighborhoods in the city sidles up next to college students that are new to drinking. Crime can and often ensues.

Downtown is really nice. In fact it is far, far nicer than when I first moved here seven years ago. A few years ago it really started to change a lot and it is constantly shifting. The biggest concern now is that our little secret is out. There are days that I don't care for all the tourists that aren't always that friendly. There is something to be said for the Knoxville brand of chattiness and politeness. It's still there but occasionally I find myself talking to someone that looks at me like I have two heads. sigh.

I kind of wonder where you live now. Knoxville doesn't have very scary neighborhoods. Even the roughest seems like Kindergarten compared to the worst in other cities. But I do know that years ago downtown was known to be incredibly rowdy and worse. In fact the reputation stemmed almost from the beginning. It's very different here in that in many city gentrifications the atmosphere returns to its respectable past. Here it seems that the best times of the city are now.

I also know that how I remember things when I was young may not be actually the way things are. Further, it seems like you were usually around the less than nice places of the city. There have always been wonderful areas of the city, too. But as a kids we were often limited in where we could go and explore.

But how people interact with each other has probably changed in monumental ways, I suspect.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:15 AM
 
121 posts, read 152,077 times
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Back then Ft. Sanders was a mix of college kids, a few low income families (like mine), homeless drifters and various sketchy older looking locals who didn't look like they did much and stayed home a lot. I looked at some recent photos and google earth and the neighborhood has changed a lot with new condo developments. It's probably swung more heavily in favor of the student population.

Just a couple stories.. the police once raided the house directly across from mine because there were a lot of homeless squatters doing god knows what there. I saw a LOT of fights and loud "domestic" incidences in the 8 years I lived there. There were also many abandoned buildings close to the railroad and near the overpass on the lower half of Ft. Sanders that us kids would sneak off to go explore. You would see needles, broken bottles, and other nastiness. There was an abandoned depot? beside the railroad track that even had an original mechanical elevator lift, rotting floorboards, and a deep shaft. I found several old coins and a buffalo nickel there. This was all before they built the muslim center. It was just a real ugly place in the 80's and early 90's.

A homeless guy once came in our house and stole a pair of my brand new shoes once. We had several strange individuals come to knock on our door late night. It just wasn't safe and i'm incredibly thankful nothing really bad ever happened to us when I lived there.

I did make some friends with kids around that area but most of their families didn't stay long aside from the sons and daughters of UT grad students who lived farther up. Everyone I did manage to stay in touch with who grew up there went to college and did very well for themselves interestingly enough.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,705 posts, read 25,172,357 times
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Used to be, back then, and I remember are all fairly useless terms when talking about something that happened a decade (or more) ago.

Last year I returned to CA for a visit and drove past my old house in Long Beach. I was shocked at how the neighborhood looked. I saw a motorcycle cop on the corner (still catching speeders with radar on our corner) and talked to him. While I remember a very quiet street where my kids could play in the front yard, its not the same now. It used to be a very safe, family oriented street. Back then we could walk two blocks to get ice cream at the Baskin Robbins (not there any longer).

He told me that our little part of the city has gone way down and is not all that safe. We moved to Knoxville in 94.

Sometimes things change for the better, sometimes they don't.
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