Steps to establish sunflower planting at TDOT SmartFix-40 site?


Hope you’re doing well. We’ve exchanged messages before about park land opportunities on TDOT right-of-way for SmartFix-40 section of I-40.

Today I’m writing because Parkridge Community Organization in Knoxville Tennessee funded a study by the East Tennessee Community Design Center to beautify the area in the vicinity of the SmartFix-40 overpass at 6th Avenue.

Some progress has already been made in cooperation with TDOT with a "Sixth Avenue Mural Project" to beautify the I-40 overpass at 6th Avenue.

One of the East Tennessee Community Design Center’s suggestions was to beautify the area inside the TDOT fence (see map and photo below) by establishing a planting of sunflowers.

Image Source: July 2016 Google Street View,

Obviously, this would require a new partnership with TDOT to make possible, likely also involving the City of Knoxville Public Works and Urban Forestry to coordinate on establishing the planting.

I wonder if you could help me out with understanding what might steps need to be taken from the neighborhood organization to get the ball rolling on preparing a spot for a sunflower planting? Can you foresee any objection from TDOT with respect to establishing a stand of sunflowers at this location?

The biggest cost will be sunflower seeds – but I believe the neighborhood organization can cover that cost. I wonder if you’re aware of any TDOT grants that might go towards the cost of acquiring sunflower seeds for this location?




About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on January 29, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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