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Weekend edition April 15, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

Visit Knoxville launches ambassador program and new Gay Street development lead this week’s news roundup

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region. If you have some business news that you would like to be included in Teknovation Weekend, please email us at

Visit Knoxville launches “K-Town Connect Ambassador Program”

Earlier this week Visit Knoxville announced the new hospitality ambassador program, a partnership that also includes the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. The program launched on April 15 and aims to improve the sidewalk and street experience for visitors and locals in the downtown area. The program will be managed by Block by Block, a provider of safety, cleaning, and hospitality services, according to the announcement from Visit Knoxville.

“We are looking forward to having these ambassadors be additional positive representation of our destination,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “It’s important for visitors and locals alike to experience a friendly, clean, and safe downtown, and we expect this program to amplify those efforts.”

Ambassadors are responsible for several duties, including hospitality and information, visible presence, quality of life issues, outreach, and acting as a point of contact with property and business owners.

New Development

A new development on the western side of the 200 block of Gay Street could connect the area to the rest of downtown for the first time since the 1970s. Hatcher-Hill Properties has released renderings of the project, which will include commercial and residential buildings. According to an article from Inside of Knoxville, the block has been vacant since the ‘70s when Summit Hill Drive was built. The gap has made it hard for businesses in the 100 block because it’s hard to tell there are more businesses further ahead on Gay Street. The article says the project, dubbed Caldonia Pass, still has some hurdles to go through with City Council and the Downtown Design Review Board before construction can begin. The project is named for Caldonia “Cal” Johnson, a man born into slavery who eventually owned a business on the 200 block and was likely Knoxville’s first Black millionaire. Read more about the project and the history of the block here.

Roane State to partner with Y-12 for third annual Cybersecurity Summer Camp

Roane State Community College and Y-12 National Security Complex will offer two sessions of the summer camp this year, based on age group. Registration for both will open on April 18. The June session is for grades 9-12. The July session is for grades 6-8. Both sessions will be held virtually. Learn more and register here.

Young Professionals of Knoxville to host event

Next week, Young Professionals of Knoxville will host YPK101. The event will help educate new and existing members on how to get the most from their membership. The event will be held on April 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Center. Learn more and register here.

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