Thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds are paying for the city-donated police, fire, permitting, inspections and other staff at the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" job site.
Exactly how much is uncertain, but a deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero said that the cost and labor are worthwhile.
"If it comes down to the question of do you participate in this or not," said Bill Lyons, chief policy officer and deputy to Rogero, "then this is an easy call and worth the resources."
The television show has had production crews here since Tuesday, staying in hotels and eating meals out while they tape a program to air nationally on ABC later this year.
And since taping began some city staff have been working overtime.
Knoxville Fire Department has had one paramedic and one EMT worker at a medical trailer there since Tuesday being paid overtime at $15 to $25 an hour. Knoxville Police are paying overtime to five police officers and one supervisor blocking traffic all week on Robinson Road. The city won't receive thousands of dollars in would-be revenue from waived permit and inspection fees while inspectors and engineers also work overtime.
And according to one nearby resident, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" isn't a great neighbor.
"Everybody's bought into this," said Glenis Nelson, who lives about a mile from the site. He uses Robinson Road to get to Middlebrook Pike.
"I'm on the other side of the fence," Nelson said, adding that he's been caught in related traffic several times. "It's a lot of sacrifice for just one family."
While "Extreme Makeover" is a temporary neighbor for Nelson, Daniel Watson heads the Knoxville nonprofit where show crews are erecting a more permanent structure. His nonprofit, The Restoration House of East Tennessee, is a place where single mothers go to get help establishing their lives.
Meanwhile, the television producers are relying on locally-donated materials and labor to do the construction.
And city staff.
Darrell DeBusk, spokesman for Knoxville Police Department, compared the city resources to the staff provided for Boomsday or a football game, events that draw tens of thousands of people to the city.
But "Extreme Makeover" is accessible this week only by crews, residents on the street and few others.
"If it was for roadwork or a red light being put up or something significant, I would have no problem with it," Nelson said about the roadblocks.
Knoxville employees have been there around the clock, working through freezing temperatures along with producers and volunteers.
An engineer had to go out early Friday morning to look at silt fences on the site, said Stephen King, the city's deputy director of engineering.
"There's no fees on that," King said about the labor costs and permits. "That was one of the commitments the city made when the show first approached the city."
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!