Roy Arthur talks Beaver Creek

Sandra ClarkFeature, Powell

Imagine a bald eagle eating a fish on the banks of Beaver Creek.

Roy Arthur saw it one day while inspecting flooding along the creek in Powell.

Arthur was funny, informative and affirming at the Powell Business & Professional Association meeting Aug. 14. His title is watershed coordinator for Knox County and he works in Engineering & Public Works under Dwight Van de Vate.

“Think back just 20 years,” he said. Powell residents had to take their kids to the elementary school playground – there was no other place to play – and there was no safe walkway.

Arthur was there 20 years ago, working with Laura Bailey, Margaret Massey-Cox and then-Commissioner Larry Stephens to get a sidewalk on Emory Road, the splash pad at Powell Station Park and the new Powell branch library.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Bob Collier and wife Louise gave the land for the new library, freeing land adjacent to Powell High School for the splash pad park.

Then came Enhance Powell (about five years ago) with Justin Bailey, Steven Goodpaster and friends expanding Powell’s two-acre splash pad park to 12 acres by getting the county law director to declare “county land is county land,” Arthur said. And the Colliers are still involved, donating another 11 or so acres adjacent to the library to Legacy Parks Foundation for the creation of a passive park. Work is underway now and Arthur expects to know in six weeks or so whether a grant comes through to develop the park.

“So, in 20 years, Powell has gone from a two-acre splash park to 27 acres (of public greenspace), if you count the library,” he said.

PBPA recognized several public officials for their contributions to recreation in Powell. Pictured are state Rep. Bill Dunn, Captain Jim Wright of the Sheriff’s Office and Commissioner Charles Busler.

Arthur called Beaver Creek the community’s biggest asset and celebrated the Aug. 4 Grand Opening Flotilla that put more than 100 kayaks and canoes in the creek. That day, Randy Burleson of Aubrey’s Restaurant donated $10,000 to Legacy Parks and announced a year-long promotion called Hoppy Trails to support walking, biking and water trails.

People don’t have to wait until the next flotilla, Arthur said. Beaver Creek is open for business. Just put in and take out on public land or where permission has been granted.

What’s next?

  • Parking lots, ramps and signs for the water trail
  • Clear Beaver Creek from Clinton Highway to Harrell Road Park
  • Complete Collier Preserve
  • Extend water trail upstream to Collier Preserve and beyond
  • Extend a greenway from Powell High School to Collier Preserve along the creek
  • Look for new recreational opportunities to enhance Powell.

“Keeping water trails cleared is a process, not a project,” Arthur said, in response to a question from Commissioner-elect Larsen Jay. Currently, inmates, volunteers and Knox County have cleared close to 15 miles of water trail from Powell High School to Oak Ridge Highway. Clearing upstream to I-75 would create a 20-mile trail.

“Parks, greenways and water trails increase property values and could bring new businesses to Powell,” Arthur said. You can’t float from Halls to Powell year-round (because of shallow water), but from Powell westward is good, he said, “and below the Coward Mill dam is a Class II rapids.”

  • Food City announced a Big Orange Pep Rally from 3-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at the store. With inflatables for the kids and free Mayfield ice cream, what’s not to like. Everyone is invited.
  • Enhance Powell will meet from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Life House Coffee on Brickyard Road at Emory. Everyone is invited.

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