Knox County, Ijams improve Mead’s Quarry access

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors, South Knox

Knox County and Ijams Nature Center are wrapping up a major project to improve access for recreation at Mead’s Quarry Lake. Team members from the county’s Parks and Recreation Department and Ijams have spent the past few weeks installing a new floating walkway that runs along the edge of the quarry from Pinkston Pointe Rock to the swimming dock. The walkway, which was funded through private donations and $100,000 from the county, will provide 250 feet of new space.


“It’s basically a floating shoreline so more people can access the lake for swimming, fishing and paddling,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “We’re invested in places for our residents to get outside and connect with nature.”

Amber Parker, executive director of Ijams Nature Center, agreed.

“It will be an amazing space for people to enjoy this summer,” she said. “We wanted to give more access to more people to swim at Ijams and to do it safely. Everyone coming together makes Ijams possible.”

Construction crews still need to anchor the walkway to the nearby rock walls but should be finished soon.

“This is a hidden gem for South Knoxville,” said Knox County Commissioner Carson Dailey, whose district includes the quarry. “Back in the 1970s and ’80s this was a dumping ground, but Ijams came along and cleaned it up with the help of Knox County. Now we have a great place for families to come out and swim, fish, canoe and paddleboard.”

Check out this video about the floating walkway:

In other Parks and Recreation news, our crews finished taking up the surface at the Mascot Park playground this week and others were able to wrap up work at the new ADA accessible kayak launch behind Powell High School as well as a similar launch at Roy Arthur Stormwater Park.

Our Concord Park crew also was busy the past week. Team members put new locks on the restroom doors at Plumb Creek Park; began taking care of some of the bare spots at The Cove – putting down topsoil, seed and straw; repaired fences at East Knox Park ballfields; and spread mulch at Farragut Park baseball field No. 1.

It wouldn’t be a column without a mention of our one-man machine Frank Christian. In an email earlier this week, he noted: “Removed dead tree from French Memorial Park; more vandalism cleanup at Plumb Creek Park, working at Mascot Park playground removal, and last week need to give a big thanks to the Engineering and Public Works crew who came and cleared a drainage culvert out at Spring Place Park. It was flooding the greenway. Also, we helped set up at the Vietnam memorial Wall That Heals last week – was glad to help them!”

On a side note, I want to give a big shout out to Matt Wallace, Dan Miller and Dustin McElroy – our carpenter team. These guys build a ton of stuff inside the parks and are crucial to saving taxpayer dollars!

On the recreation side we have the homerun derby taking place at the Sportspark in Karns; adult soccer at Tommy Schumpert Park; youth lacrosse at John Tarleton Park and youth soccer at U.S. Cellular Park. In addition, we still need umpires and part-time employees. Check out the human resources page at www.knoxcounty.org.

Here’s some photos from work around the county:

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government

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