(This story has been updated)
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs came to Powell Friday morning to announce plans for improvements to the 44-mile stretch of Beaver Creek from Halls to Melton Hill. The county will invest roughly $452,000 over three years to clear and maintain the water trail and build new put-ins.
The Knox County Water Trail will connect the Halls, Powell, Karns, Solway and Hardin Valley communities.
Jacobs said, “Once completed, the (project) will give us one of the best water trails in the Southeast. In addition to great outdoor recreation, this project will help with our flood control efforts in north Knox County and improve water quality on Beaver Creek.
Guest speakers included Jacobs; at-large Commissioner Larsen Jay; Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation; and Charlie Austin, president of the Beaver Creek Kayak Club.
Austin thanked his father for taking him to play on Beaver Creek as a kid growing up in Solway. He said the Beaver Creek Kayak Club started in January 2016 with a group of friends who enjoyed outdoor recreation. “Now we have over 1,500 members with an interest in Beaver Creek.”
The club sponsors creek and creekbank cleanups through the county’s Adopt a Road and Adopt a Stream programs. Austin called Beaver Creek “a hidden gem” and thanked Jacobs for his support. “We have a saying,” he said. “Community is not where you live, it’s what you do.”
Mike Donila, the county’s communications director, said Friday, “We hope to have it finished within two years, but the weather will play a role. The Parks and Recreation Department will oversee most of the work and upkeep, but any volunteer work – once the water trail is completely cleared – is always appreciated.
“The project not only is for recreation but also has some environmental components as well, since it will mitigate flooding and improve water quality.”
Donila said the Engineering and Public Works Department worked on four projects this week:
- Greenwell Road – Installed new 24-inch aluminized CMP adjacent to existing cross-drain and riprap outfall protection to provide additional capacity during large storm events.
- Karns Valley Road – Slope grading to meeting FEMA ‘No-Rise’ requirement at bridge over Beaver Creek
- South-Doyle Middle School – Completed paving access road to track
- Brickyard kayak/canoe launch behind Powell High School – Grading and installation of basestone for parking lot