There are many reasons Knoxville made Santa's "nice" list in 2021. The Vols secured a bowl game, new businesses opened downtown and the city is coming back to life this Christmas season with a sleigh full of holiday events.
Therefore, let's think about what we collectively want for the city this Christmas.
When Santa slides down the Sunsphere, let's hope he packed the following presents to bring Knoxville cheer in the new year.
Even more events at World's Fair Park
World's Fair Park proved itself to be a go-to venue for live music and events during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to its open space and renovated amenities.
The park often is used for recreation or for large festivals, but not too much happens in between.
With hopes of 2022 allowing more musicians to hit the road, Knoxville should ask for more one-off events at the park.
More riverfront opportunities
Knoxville's natural beauty cannot be denied, with downtown situated on the banks of the gorgeous Tennessee River. But only two restaurants currently utilize the waterfront space: Calhoun's on the River and Ruth's Chris Steak House.
On the south side of the river, a major apartment development is in the works near Suttree Landing Park where Second Bell Music Festival is held each year — one of the only regularly occurring riverfront events.
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The riverfront is somewhat of an underutilized resource in Knoxville, and the city would benefit from more businesses and entertainment opportunities along the water in 2022.
Forthcoming music venues to start hosting shows
The Holston River is another beautiful resource in Knoxville, and plans are in place to bring an outdoor music venue to a former drive-in facility along the water just a short drive from downtown Knoxville.
River Breeze Event Center had to postpone its inaugural concert, which was scheduled for October with the venue still under construction.
Knoxville is anxiously waiting for more live music opportunities and should ask for a concert to be held at the forthcoming venue in 2022.
The same goes for forthcoming music venue The Outpost, which concertgoers were introduced to in 2021 during the venue's outdoor concert series.
More space for hip-hop in Knoxville
In the meantime, there are plenty of places for Knoxvillians to catch live music. However, the Scruffy City is in need of a venue dedicated to hip-hop, local artists told Knox News in 2021.
Plus, more than a decade has passed since a hip-hop tour stopped at Thompson-Boling Arena. Lil Baby was supposed to perform in 2021, but that show was postponed.
Dear Santa: Can we please get more hip-hop in Knoxville next year?
People to support small and diverse business
Every small business could use support in 2022. But the same hip-hop artists calling for a venue spoke with Knox News about the additional challenges of being Black in business.
Knox News recently dedicated an entire print section to local Black entrepreneurs, who continue to provide valuable resources and services to the entire Knoxville community.
Small Business Saturday: Knoxville's local stores prepare after a challenging year
Knoxville should ask for more people to support existing diverse businesses and for more diverse businesses to start in 2022.
Celebrities to avoid negative media attention
East Tennessee celebrities made national headlines in 2021 for winning championships, releasing new music and generally succeeding in their industries.
Yet, a couple hometown favorites made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Morgan Wallen was publicly criticized for a leaked video of him using a racial slur, and Johnny Knoxville was sued by "Jackass" co-star Bam Margera in 2021.
Morgan Wallen:New double album 'Dangerous' delves into singer's past
In 2022, Knoxville should ask for the final "Jackass" film to finally hit theaters as a success and for regional celebrities to put East Tennessee on the map in a positive way.
Basically: Be more like Dolly.
Fewer potholes on interstates and city roads
The road to 2022 was been a rough one thanks to COVID-19. It doesn't help when you run over a pothole on the interstate.
Here's to hoping the Tennessee Department of Transportation regularly fills those holes and, therefore, our hearts in 2022.
After flooding, there's potholes: Knoxville is 'like driving into a war zone'
While we're at it, let's hope potholes on city roads are filled too.
The Broadway viaduct project to finally wrap up
The Broadway viaduct in downtown Knoxville has been closed since 2019 as crews work to replace the bridge with two new ones.
Knox News reported in 2019 the project was scheduled to wrap up in August 2022.
Robert J. Booker: As the Broadway viaduct comes down, learn how it began | Opinion
While projects of this magnitude easily can get off schedule, especially during the pandemic, let's all ask for the the viaduct to reopen sometime next year.
A facelift for the Sunsphere
Love it or hate it, the Sunsphere is an iconic Knoxville structure. However, from experience visiting the observation deck, the golden globe could benefit for some renovations.
Luckily, a Sunsphere fund has been created just in time for the 40th anniversary of the World's Fair.
What keeps Knoxville's Sunsphere shiny?: Household detergent and lots of skill
Let's hope the fund generates enough money in 2022 to update the Sunsphere so it can remain an icon for years to come.
Vols football to win the SEC
Coach Josh Heupel re-energized fan support for the Tennessee Volunteers football team during his first season in 2021. The fast-paced offense was exciting to watch, and a trip to the Music City Bowl was a big accomplishment for the Big Orange squad.
Let's all ask Santa Claus — and die-hard fan Santa Vol — to bring the team even more success in 2022.
Could an SEC championship be in the team's future? Let's ho-ho-hope so.
Yes, even more craft beer
Knox News once asked Knox Brew Hub and Knox Brew Tours owner Zack Roskop if Knoxville needed another brewery. His answer: "abso-freaking-lutely."
We have to agree.
Knoxville is known as the Maker City and the Scruffy City, and creating craft beer matches both of those personas.
This Christmas, we should ask for even more breweries in neighborhoods where tap rooms do not already exist.
The return of canceled Knoxville events
Christmas is one of the most popular holidays around the world, but who in Knoxville remembers Boomsday?
The Labor Day weekend celebration lasted 28 years in Knoxville with one of the most extravagant fireworks shows you could ever imagine. Dear Santa: Can we please bring back Boomsday in 2022?
Knoxville holiday events are back: Check out the best Christmas lights displays
And while you're at it, what about the International Biscuit Festival?
More ways to get around town
The city is looking to make scooters a permanent part of the downtown landscape. But before leaders land on a final plan, they will consider which companies can bring in other forms of transportation, including shared bicycles.
Not only should Knoxville ask for more ways to scoot and drive around town, but locals would also benefit from extended Knoxville Area Transit bus services in the more remote areas of town.
Electric scooters: Will this new plan keep downtown riders off sidewalks?
More bike lanes and greenways would also be a plus in 2022.
Downtown Focus efforts to work as planned
The city noticed an anecdotal increase in aggressive panhandling, vandalism and other activities it believes can paint a negative picture of the city's core during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city's new Downtown Focus efforts looks to cut down on these activities by removing graffiti, piloting anti-noise technology and encouraging people not to give to panhandlers and, instead, give to organizations that work with the local homeless population.
We shouldn't have to ask, but can we all do our part to help those in need and treat our city with respect in 2022?
We all have the power to make Knoxville a better place.
Ryan Wilusz: Knoxville's downtown explorer and urban reporter
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: What should Knoxville want for Christmas? We made a holiday wish list