Knox County splash pads open this weekend

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors

So, the big news right now is that we’re set to open the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department’s splash pads this Saturday!

If you don’t know it yet, splash pads are automated water playgrounds for kids of all ages. And, of course, they are free and open to the public. The county has splash pads located at three parks: Carl Cowan (10058 S Northshore Drive), New Harvest (4775 New Harvest Lane) and Powell Station Park (2318 W Emory Road).

“Knox County is fortunate to have attractions like this in our parks,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “They provide a great space for families to gather and are a unique experience for kids of all ages.”

The splash pads are open daily — weather permitting — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning May 1 through Sept. 12, although they could stay open later if the weather is still warm. As I recall, the last couple of years, we’ve kept them open into early October!

Also, we’re very close to announcing a new director for the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department. We conducted a national search and interviewed 12 candidates – all of them great! Expect an announcement very soon!

In the meantime, it’s been business as usual for the crews. Our carpenters have been working on ADA issues, moving handrails into proper spots and making sure the parks are in compliance or, at least, working to get there.

We’re installing drains in the playgrounds at French and Maloney Road parks. As you might recall, those playgrounds are getting new rubberized surfaces (no more mulch surfaces!). We also built a sidewalk for the Melton Hill boat dock and striped John Tarleton Field for football games.

Our electrician has spent time working on some issues, including timers, at Halls and New Harvest parks. And our plumbers have been working on water leaks and fixing the dog park water fountains at various parks.

Of course, we’ve also got the small crew in Beaver Creek, working on the Knox County Water Trail!

On the Recreation side, we have youth softball games at Ball Camp Park running through the middle of May and adult softball leagues going on at the Sportpark through the end of May.

Lacrosse groups are using John Tarleton Park for practice and some games when it doesn’t rain, and we have AYSO soccer playing games at US Cell through the middle of May.

In addition, FC Alliance is using some dates at US Cellular park for tournaments on the weekends and playing league games on Tuesdays.

We also have adult soccer playing games at Tommy Schumpert Park through the middle of May on Wednesdays and Sundays. And we have all our community parks hosting baseball and softball seasons now through the middle of June.

One thing of note: We continue to need help finding umpires and part-time workers. Those interested are asked to call Jennifer Gentry at 865-215-6609.

As always, our folks over at the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department were rocking this past week.

Here’s a snapshot of just some of their work:

  • 8357 Nubbin Ridge – Cross drainpipe replacement
  • Woodhollow Lane – installation of new stormwater drainage pipes as a result of failing existing drainage system
  • Chert Pit Road – Crossdrain replacement

Enjoy this carousel of photos of work across the county:

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government

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