Busy weekend for the parks

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors

The Cove at Concord Park is gonna be a busy place this Saturday!

Folks are encouraged to go fishing there from 8 a.m. to noon and take part in Free Fishing Day, which is sponsored by Knox County and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA). This event is geared toward families and children and allows those who participate to fish without a license for the day.

In the past, TWRA has provided rods, tackle, bait and gifts, but this year participants will need to bring their own equipment as the event will be more scaled back in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, state officials said. TWRA’s Fisheries Division does still plan to stock the small pond (to the right of The Cove entrance) with catfish.

“It’s a great event for the whole family and gives everyone the opportunity to have fun and spend some time together outside,” Mayor Glenn Jacobs said.

We also kick off our Second Saturday Concert Series this Saturday (6/12) with Mystic Rhythm Tribe playing at the Cove and Crawdaddy Jones taking the stage at Clayton Park.

The free concerts are held from 6-8 p.m. June through August on the second Saturday of each month. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and food. However, no alcohol is allowed.

Mystic Rhythm Tribe bills itself as: “Blues, Funk, Rock Good Times!” The Knoxville-based band says its members share a common culture (music and energy) and dialect (swampy funk and modern blues to rock and beyond). The band embraces all styles of music – although firmly rooted in the blues – and does its best to incorporate those styles to serve the songs. You can find more about the band here and here.

Crawdadaddy Jones has been a mainstay in the Second Saturday Concert Series. The Knoxville-based band is an “original blues rockin’ duo” that features Stevie Jones on guitar and Michael “Crawdaddy” Crawley on harmonica and vocals. You can find more about the band at: https://www.facebook.com/crawdaddyjones/

In other parks and recreation news, you might have noticed that we’ve had to close the splash pads a number of times already this year for repairs. Folks, these things are getting old, so we’re probably going to keep them up and running (as best we can) this summer and then begin overhauling them during the winter.

It’s not going to be cheap, but we recognize that the public really enjoys them. I hope to have more news on this in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, our crews have been busy as always.

“We’ve got a lot of fields we’re getting ready for football,” said Jason Halliburton, the superintendent of maintenance. “Fertilizing, spraying, watering – they’ve got it going on!”

Our carpenters also are at East Knox Park, pouring concrete for the new dugouts. In addition, they’ll start work on pricing for some upcoming projects. One big one: posts and cables at Melton Hill, Powell Station and Spring Place parks. They’re also checking doors and doorknobs throughout the system to see if they need to be replaced.

“It’s a lot of work – Melton Hill is about 7,000 feet of post and cable and it’s probably a $30,000 project,” said Halliburton, adding that they help “keep the natural areas natural and prevent vehicles from making new and unwanted trails.”

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention our one-man machine, Frank Christian, who sent in some pics this week. He said he was busy trimming hedges at Marine, Alcoaway, French and Nicholas parks, and putting up new signs at the county’s three splashpads.

On the recreation side, girls’ softball signups start July 1 for Ball Camp Park.

In addition, the Senior Smoky Mountain Softball Tournament has been going all week at SportsPark in Karns and concludes on Sunday.

In other E&PW news, crews also:

  • Woodhollow Lane – continued stormwater repair (progress photos)
  • Collier Preserve – Upgrade sidewalk across entrance to be ADA compliant

I also have news this week from the Knox County Library system. We’re about halfway to our goal of 1 million logged hours for Read City USA. We’re at 450,000 hours right now! We also are working with WBIR, which is featuring a Read of the Week on their social media feeds.

Please nominate the readers in your lives who are turning pages (or clicking through Tumblebooks). They don’t have to be officially logging in to Read City, though we hope they are. You are welcome to nominate them yourself – with their permission of course – here.

Enjoy this carousel of photos of work across the county:

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government

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