As the city of Knoxville assumes ownership of Fountain City Lake and Park, the first order of business will be investing in accessibility upgrades to allow everyone to more fully enjoy the park.
To accommodate the initial round of improvements in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fountain City Park will be closed beginning Tuesday, Aug. 10. The park will be a work zone and is expected to remain closed through the end of August. (Fountain City Lake will remain open in August while the initial work at the neighboring park is underway.)
Contractor crews will be resurfacing the asphalt walking path that meanders through the park and adding concrete pullouts that connect the path to swings and benches. The improvements – which fix some rough, uneven surfaces and remove physical barriers for people using wheelchairs – will allow all visitors to access the park and its amenities.
Workers also will be installing curb cuts in the park and designating two ADA parking spaces at the park entrance on Gresham Road.
Additional accessibility upgrades will be made later in the year, including improvements to the concrete pathway that encircles Fountain City Lake. Also, by the end of 2021, the city will be installing an ADA-accessible playground in the park.
Meanwhile, a “Passing of the Key” ceremony is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at the park. Fountain City Lions Club president Dan Rhea will formally present the symbolic key to the park to Mayor Indya Kincannon and District 4 city council member Lauren Rider. The public is invited to the event.
On June 29, city council voted unanimously to accept a recommendation by Mayor Kincannon’s administration that the city accept the Lions Club’s offer to donate Fountain City Park and Lake.
Mayor Kincannon thanked the Fountain City Lions Club for having lovingly cared for the park for more than 50 years, and she promised city resources and the Lions Club’s continued partnership in managing the park going forward.
In recent years, the city has committed more than $1 million to improve the water quality of Fountain City Lake and to improve amenities in the park.
Eric Vreeland is deputy director of communications for the city of Knoxville.