Jennifer not only lives in the sixth district, she owns a business there. She owns a small real estate company, Trotta Montgomery Real Estate on W. 5th Avenue. The business recently bought and is renovating a building at 2300 E. Magnolia Avenue and are excited about working at the street level.
Jennifer’s family is from the sixth district. Her great-grandfather owned a plumbing shop on University Avenue, and her grandfather worked at a lumber yard on Washington Avenue, the street on which she lives.
She has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning. She looked at how neighborhoods work, especially with regard to affordability, and how retail works in city districts.
Jennifer is her neighborhood group president, a charter member of East Knoxville Lions Club, and a member of the Rotary Club of Knoxville. She also started a small merchants group, Magnolia Avenue Market Area.
What are three factors you feel are most critical to continuing Knoxville’s steady economic growth? How do you plan to support these factors?
I think maintaining affordabilty, attracting jobs, and creating a unique city are most critical to continuing Knoxville’s steady economic growth. My economic development plan describes developer incentives (TIF and PILOT programs) in exchange for affordable housing and, possibly, leasing opportunities for start-up businesses. Importantly, affordability could be built into the context of market-rate developments.
Beyond recruitment of new business that brings jobs into the city, I am excited about partnerships within the business community to provide jobs and create mentoring opportunities for young people. I am impressed that the Mayor of Savannah created 500 jobs for young people (Summer 500) in partnership with businesses.
Finally, I think Knoxville is a highly attractive city and would like to encourage the development of our unique assets here. Development in South Knoxville has been well focused on connection to nature and land. East Knoxville has similar potential, perhaps with a more agricultural approach. An interesting example of agricultural opportunity in an urban environment is Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in Philladelphia, PA. There, young people, in addition to riding in the streets, learn about animal care. Chilhowee Park has basic facilities that might be suitable for some horse activity that are vacant for most of the year. Unique ideas like this one, along with other unique ideas that are practical and achievable are exciting to me.
What is the biggest challenge facing Knoxville businesses today? How do you plan to address this issue if elected?
Local and independent business is especially important to the local economy. Local and independent retail can offer unique shopping opportunities that support unique neighborhood districts and communities and attract tourists. Money earned from locally- owned businesses is more likely spent in the local economy. Further, a city that is good for business attracts good businesses from other places. I am interested in making our city good for business, both local and new to town.
Smart growth strategies are good for business. These strategies include supporting walkable and vibrant urban neighborhoods and districts, attractive to young and creative people. Public transportation is another important strategy. When I was young, the idea was to leave town to get a job. These days, jobs come to the talent. The City of Knoxville should attract and retain talent.
In what specific ways would you like to see Knoxville’s young professionals more engaged in our community?
I am involved in two traditional civic organizations, a neighborhood group, and a new merchant’s group. These organizations and groups have provided me with a platform from which to serve my community and network with other people and professionals in my community. I appreciate opportunities for young professionals to work together in organizations that support community and economic growth, especially to achieve positive change. I am inspired by mentoring opportunities that develop from organization, especially where several generations of people and professionals work together.
All candidate profile information was submitted by the candidate’s election campaign committee. The Knoxville Chamber does not support or endorse candidates in local elections.
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