Jacobs delivers Festival donations to Love Kitchen

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors

On Tuesday, the Knox County Parks and Recreation team and Mayor Glenn Jacobs delivered 12 barrels of non-perishable food items and almost $7,300 to the non-profit Love Kitchen – all of which was raised during last December’s annual Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove. The late Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner started the kitchen on Valentine’s Day in 1968.

“This is really a community institution started by the sisters out of the kindness of their heart, out of love,” Jacobs said. “That’s why it’s called the Love Kitchen. They provide a great service to give people hope, and it’s also one of those organizations and institutions that really is here in our community that everybody knows about and everybody supports because of the great work that they do.”

The Love Kitchen provides meals, clothing and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless and unemployed.

New gates

In other parks and recreation news, we finished installing the gates along the greenway that leads to the new Callaway Ridge Trailhead at the roundabout of Concord Road and Northshore Drive. Apparently, there are a lot of folks in Knox County who don’t know how to drive (yeah, I know – “news alert”) and they were driving on the greenway. One knucklehead was even towing his boat!

On a side note, this is just one phase of the Northshore Safety, Wellness and Connectivity project. When the four phases are wrapped up, it will create pedestrian access that links the areas east and west of The Cove at Concord Park.

James Major, who oversees the Concord crew, also said he had workers out clearing a couple of trees and “doing all the other little things that help us keep the parks looking good.”

Our carpenters got to work in earnest on the new dog park at Beverly Park this week as they started to pour concrete for the walkway and entrance area. They should wrap that up soon and will then begin installing the fence.

Beverly Park dog park

We plan to build four other dog parks this year. We currently operate four at Concord Park on S. Northshore Drive; I.C. King (the expansion part) on Maryville Pike, Tommy Schumpert Park on Fountain City Road and Plumb Creek Park on Hickey Road.

We’ve also got a crew back in Beaver Creek, working on the 44-mile-long Knox County Water Trail; our one-man machine Frank Christian was busy putting reflective tape around the parks and working on signage and gates; and

J. D. McDaniel

and his crews were across the county at various ball fields fixing and straightening fences where the bottoms have begun to curl.

And speaking of J.D., the department recognized the crew leader as “Teammate of the Quarter” (4th quarter 2021) for all his work.

J.D. has been an important part of the Knox County Parks and Recreation Maintenance team since 1996. He started as an equipment operator and was promoted to the position of a crew leader. One of the things that his team appreciates most about J.D. is that he comes in early each morning to make sure that the vehicles and equipment are safe and ready to go and that the coolers are full of water for all the work crews. When his crew was asked about J.D., they said that he is always willing to help others do whatever needs to be done. In his free time, J.D. enjoys watching the Steelers and UT football. J.D.’s strong organizational skills, hard work ethic, crew leadership, team orientation and his willingness to do what it takes to get the job done makes him an asset to our team.

On the recreation side, don’t forget that Youth Girls Recreation Fastpitch Softball signups are still open! Click the link to get registered here. Youth basketball league tournaments have kicked off, and we will have our county tournament of champions week Feb. 21-25. We also will host TOC Championship Saturday at Hardin Valley Middle School on Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for our open and rec leagues.

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government

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