The Knoxville City Council approved the sale of a property on West Pleasant Street in Knoxville Wednesday night, allowing a crematorium to be built there. The property was sold to Leroy Winfield, who offered the City a little more than $20,000. That money covers the city’s cost for taking control of and tearing down the building formally known as Paddy’s Place.
The sale came at the objection of many people in the neighborhood. The property is zoned commercial, but many properties in the neighborhood are residential properties. About 30 people were gathered in the Council chambers, many of whom expressed their opinion against the sale to the Council. A petition with more than 140 signatures was submitted to the Council. Neighbors said they were afraid such a business would drive surrounding property values down. They also didn’t think it was appropriate to have in a residential area and in an area near school property.
LeRoy Winfield submitted material to the Council discussing the net effects of crematoriums. He said that, contrary to common though, they are very quiet and discrete. He noted that their odor and emissions are negligible; a state emissions regulator said something similar, according to Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik.
The Council voted to approve the sale with a 3-1 vote. Councilor Elsie Kemp voted against the sale, and Councilor Dave Roozeboom was absent. Among the Councilors that voted yes, Tim Pitt said that the City wasn’t in a position where they could turn down opportunities for business growth. He did note it was a tough decision and said he understood the concerns of homeowners. April Verwers and Carolyn Formanek were optimistic that the crematorium would not be a deterrent for business and may actually make selling the adjacent city owned property easier.