One week before the Metropolitan Planning Commission meeting, a town hall style meeting was held Cumberland Baptist Church on Western Ave. A meeting was held a week prior at the same place and the same time but Knox County Mayor Burchett was unable to attend that one. This meeting was completely different and set up for answer and questions instead of like last week where there were stations you had to go to, to find answers.
Many City Councilmen and County Commissioners where there, Mayor Rogero was in D.C. but did send a spokesperson to answer any questions in her place. Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones and District Attorney Charm Allen were also there with Mayor Burchett and were put in the hot seat several times.
Mayor Burchett started the meeting off by saying apologizing about how the previous meeting had been and that he talks full responsibility for it. Information was provided on the behavioral center. It will consist of twenty four beds with a max of the max of only nine low grade non-violent charges could go into this facility. D.A. Charm Allen did say that there may be a couple of instances where families may be able to ask for help for there adult child to be admitted for the maximum three day limit, but that decision will only be made by her and her department.
The community pushed back a lot, with some hard hitting questions. In the end it seemed to be a push for Mayor Burchett to push back the MPC meeting so they could rethink if they wanted this in there neighborhood or not. At one point in the meeting a man asked the crowd to raise your hand if you live within two miles of this center, and more than half of the community raised there hand including our Sheriff who lives less than a mile away from this facility with his 88 year old mother.
More push back came when the community wanted to know what weather there home values will be deprecated or whether they had considered the school zones or churches? The community was assured that this is only for non-violent cases and not rapists or child molesters. Overall the Mayor, Sheriff and our D.A. did a great job answering all the concerns that were brought up.
The point of this meeting was to connect the community to this idea of a need for a Behavioral center, but the community could not get against the fact that they don’t want it in there front yard period they want it downtown where “the rest of them are” The community was reminded by the representative for Hellen Ross Mcnabb that it’s not a “them’ but that we are all HUMANS!