Pigeon Forge City Officials are preparing for major development activity surrounding the former Jake Thomas Farm and have hired an engineering team to study the impact and to make recommendations for accommodating the developments.
A few weeks ago the Pigeon Forge Planning Commission approved site plans for a major retail/entertainment complex to be built on the site by a developer, Riverwalk Park, LLC. The Main Street Marketplace will envelope 180,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of restaurants, a 12-screen movie theater and an 8,000-square-foot food court.
Construction on the Main Street project could begin as early as this coming spring.
Another proposed development, the Belle Island Village, will be located between the Parkway and Teaster Lane on the south side of Wears Valley Road. Plans for Belle Island call for a 21-acre development to include 116,000 square feet retail space, at least 12 restaurants, a carousel and a concert hall.
City planners are now grappling with the added traffic and infrastructure concerns that will come as a result of the development.
In response, Pigeon Forge officials are considering building a city parking lot and possibly a trolley hub near the development site, on the Thomas Farm property. The city purchased the property from the Riverwalk Park, LLC developers for $17.5 million. They’ve also proposed building a connecting road that would run between the Parkway and Teaster Lane.
Accordingly, the city has hired an engineering firm, Gresham Smith and Associates, to study various aspects of the city project and to draw up designs. In all, the services done by the engineers will cost the city $532,600.
Gresham will perform a traffic impact study ($34,900), a pedestrian and parking plan ($33,300), a trolley operations study ($7,800), roadway design services (242,400), traffic signal design services ($38,500), lighting design services ($29,200), civil/site design services ($35,100), greenway and landscape architecture services ($62,500), and water and sewer design services ($48,900).
There are at least three potential traffic signals that will need to be built to accommodate up-coming developments in the area.