Good news ahead for Gibbs

Mike DonilaFun Outdoors

We have a semi-big announcement coming in the next week or so on the Engineering and Public Works Department side. But essentially, we’re partnering with KUB to install lights at the entrances to Gibbs High School. The main entrance has been a problem for a number of years and some pedestrians have even been hit by vehicles. (See earlier story here.) We hope the new lights fix that. My understanding is that KUB will supply the lights and do most of the work and then we’ll cover the electricity.

This week, our crews installed 25 emergency response locator signs, effectively covering the entire Concord Park (and Keller Bend Park) trail system. The work piggybacks off a local Eagle Scout Service Project conducted in early October by Boy Scout Harrison Masters, and will be the first of its kind in Knox County. In fact, there are very few trails in the state that have these!

The systems are designed to help emergency responders more quickly identify those who might need medical assistance on the trail. The signs also help trail users identify just where they are. In October, Masters said he hoped his project would inspire others to adopt similar emergency plans across the county. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs accepted the challenge and said the county would be happy to participate.

“We’re really glad Harrison brought the idea to our attention because a system like this will help make Knox County an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” Mayor Jacobs said. “Safety is our top priority in the parks system and these signs will help provide folks with a greater peace of mind.”

Early next year, work will extend to the county’s other trail systems, including those at House Mountain and I.C. King Park, for example.

Late last week, some dirt bag stole all the wiring from the ball field lights at Gibbs Park and East Knox Park. We expect the new materials to cost close to $50,000. This isn’t cool. It not only hurts the parks system because that money could be used to repair other items, but it also affects the kids who play ball in these parks. There’s a lot I could say but I’ll be polite since this is a family website!

When the matter initially made the news, we received a number of requests from local folks and businesses, letting us know that they could provide the labor to install the new wiring. We appreciate everyone who reached out to us, but right now we have electricians on board who can handle the work. If that changes, we know we’re in good hands locally with everyone who asked to help. Again, we really do appreciate it!

On Thursday, our carpenters were busy tearing down the boat dock at Concord Park since the water level is low. They plan to begin replacing the dock next week. They’re also working on the boat dock at Cherokee Park (across from the Cove). Our carpenters earlier this week also fixed the back gate to the dog park at Plumb Creek Park. Like I always say (and I know it’s cliché) but the little things do count!

In other E&PW news, crews performed the following:

  • Hightop Road – Ditch line maintenance and side drain clean-out with our new Jet Vac truck
  • Hardin Valley Road – Roadway asphalt repair
  • Maryville Pike – Installation of driveway access per Capital Project for I.C. King Park
  • Concord Park (The Cove) – Installation of new guardrail for new access entrance

The photo carousel features the crews at work for Knox County.

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government.


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