Mayor Indya Kincannon, Knoxville City Council members and community advocates dedicated the rejuvenated Cal Johnson Recreation Center, 507 Hall of Fame Drive, on Sept. 23.
The top-to-bottom inside-and-out transformation of the rec center and park reflects a $721,866 city investment and a privately-funded $100,000 public art project.
In addition, Mayor Kincannon and Parks and Recreation Director Sheryl Ely touted new outdoor fitness equipment that’s been installed at Danny Mayfield Park in Mechanicsville and at Paul Hogue Park in East Knoxville, thanks to the Knox County Health Department and the University of Tennessee. UT shared its expertise, and the equipment was funded by $55,000 in state grant funds managed through the Health Department.
“These projects demonstrate how we can do bigger things that benefit our neighborhoods when we collaborate,” Kincannon said. “We can do more when we share our resources, commitment and talents.”
Complementing the city-funded new amenities at the Cal Johnson Rec Center is a bold and inspirational mural, just a few hundred feet away, at the Cal Johnson Park basketball courts. These new courts are courtesy of 2K Foundations and WNBA and former UT star Candace Parker.
The privately-funded public art project, valued at $100,000, celebrates community and inspires creative and healthy lifestyles. It also salutes the values and contributions of business owner Cal Johnson, poet Nikki Giovanni, legendary coach Pat Summitt and Parker.
The biggest single component of the Cal Johnson Recreation Center make-over was the city’s $570,000 total renovation, which reconfigured the space to create a large multipurpose room and added accessible family restrooms in the gym area.
The mezzanine area near the gym was opened up, two new activity rooms were constructed, and improvements were made to the kitchen. The city added a $71,031 fitness room. Computers and WiFi soon will be available to rec center visitors.
Outside the rec center, a new 4,500-square-foot $81,700 playground was installed. It features an ADA-compliant surface, an accessible bench and sidewalk, and accessible ground-level and elevated play activities. The new playground has four slides and numerous climbers.
“We are excited about the new amenities at the rec center and in the park,” Ely said. “We’re grateful to our partners and for the support of the community.”
Paige Travis is a public information specialist for the city of Knoxville.