New access to our waterways, new partnerships and a new park dedicated to veterans were announced to a sold-out crowd of more than 1,000 guests at Legacy Parks Foundation’s Legacy Luncheon for the Parks.
Last Friday’s luncheon location on the French Broad River provided the opportunity for Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, to announce a new partnership with Johnson University.
“This coming year, Johnson University will work toward creating public access to the French Broad River from this very site,” said Evans. In addition to the new river access, Johnson University plans to create a network of more than eight miles of multiuse trails on campus.
“This new trail system will be a wonderful amenity to all and especially this area of South Knox County, where no such trail system currently exists,” said Evans.
The Legacy Luncheon for the Parks is the foundation’s annual fundraising event that celebrates the accomplishments of the organization over the past year.
“To date, Legacy Parks has raised more than $6 million for parks and trails, added over 500 acres of parkland in Knox County, and created over 50 miles of trails within Knoxville’s city limits,” Evans said.
Evans also announced continued work on Legacy Parks’ 42 acres at Sharp’s Ridge.
“Through a grant from the Siddiqi Foundation, the first all-inclusive trail will be constructed to accommodate users of all types, including those with disabilities,” said Evans. “We believe everyone should be able to play in the woods.” The grant will also fund four all-terrain wheelchairs.
A new partnership with Blue Water Industries will pay tribute to veterans.
“Legacy Parks will receive a beautiful parcel of land from Blue Water Industries that will become a new Veterans Memorial Park offering a place for reflection, commemoration and celebration, overlooking the French Broad River and the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery,” Evans revealed.
Also announced was additional support for UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. Legacy Parks will coordinate a concept plan for UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm to become an even more attractive site for innovative businesses to locate as well as enhance the park for the entire public to enjoy.
Evans told attendees about a continued partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency through a grant for a new public-access point on Beaver Creek.
“Today I am pleased to announce that we have expanded our partnership to our waterways,” said Evans. “We are grateful to TWRA for providing a grant to create a public-access ramp to Beaver Creek behind Powell High School that will accommodate the hundreds of paddlers who enjoy this unique waterway that runs the entire length of our county.”
In celebration of Legacy Parks’ work, National Geographic explorer and photographer David McLain, the keynote speaker, brought his insights surrounding the secrets of longevity. Sharing his inspiring stories from his travels with the Blue Zone Exploration team – to the five places on Earth where you are likely to live past 100 years – McLain imparted upon the hundreds of business and community leaders in attendance how they can make simple changes to sustain a long and happy life.
This year’s luncheon was presented by Verizon and sponsored by Pilot Flying J, Texas Instruments, UCOR, BarberMcMurry Architects, Gulf & Ohio Railways, Home Federal Bank, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Planet H2O, Robin Easter Design, RSI EnTech, The Trust Company of Tennessee, TVA, the University of Tennessee Medical Center and UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, along with many table sponsors.
Sarah Rump is marketing director for Legacy Parks Foundation.