When Tim Hester came on board last year as city of Knoxville’s Parks and Greenways coordinator, he was presented with a plan, a 20-year “road map” of 13 projects to connect parks and greenways across the city.
In his presentation to Fountain City Town Hall April 9, Hester said the plan is not all-encompassing. For example, it doesn’t include the effort to connect Adair Park with Old Broadway with proposed easements through Lynnhurst Cemetery. Hester said that effort is “not there yet, but we’re working on it.”
Instead, the plan, which can be found on the city of Knoxville’s website, is a guide for targeted connections aimed at better recreation and commuter access. And commuter access is becoming more important. Hester invited the group to visit Third Creek Greenway around 7:30 a.m. on a weekday.
“Greenways are not just a place for recreation, but more and more they’re being used for commuter traffic,” he said.
Projects on the list span the city, and every project contends with the same problems.
“With our ridges, creeks, waterways and housing density, just figuring out where to put a trail can be difficult,” Hester said.
Greenways can be pricey, too. The recently-opened section of First Creek Greenway along the front of Fulton High School cost $1.4 million for six-tenths of a mile, Hester said, because of the slope and nearness to a waterway. If the whole plan was completed in 20 years, Hester said it would cost $60 million in 2016 dollars.
Another project of local interest is the greenway extension from New Harvest Park to Spring Place Park, giving access to a currently inaccessible greenway between the Walmart near Knoxville Center Mall and Loves Creek Road. Hester said Walmart built the greenway, but “the city never connected to it.”
“It’s a greenway, but you can’t get to it. You can see it from the parking lot,” he said.
The most expensive project on the plan, he said, is expanding the Riverwalk on the north shore of the Tennessee River from downtown to Holston River Park.
“It’s a quiet, pristine park experience. It’s a great park that most people don’t even know is there,” Hester said.
Fountain City Town Hall board chair Kelly Ellenburg said the group will once again host Honor Fountain City Day in Fountain City Park on Memorial Day. She asked that everyone check the Fountain City Town Hall website and Facebook page for updates.
Three Gresham Middle School students were honored at the meeting. Christian Cox received an award for outstanding citizenship, and Nick Crowley and Ty Matherly received awards for academic perseverance.
The next Fountain City Town Hall general membership meeting will be held 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at Church of the Good Shepherd, 5337 Jacksboro Pike.