Let the green times roll

Sandra ClarkFeature, Powell

What happens when you put a dozen creative people in a circle and ask them to “vision” Beaver Creek? Blank stares at first. But when Steven Goodpaster says, “there are no wrong answers,” folks start talking.

Enhance Powell met Sept. 18 at LifeHouse Coffee.

“Hire an engineer,” said Roy Arthur. The Powell resident is also watershed coordinator in Knox County’s stormwater department – the local expert on Beaver Creek.

“Build a walking trail and a boardwalk over the creek,” said Margaret Massey Cox. “Make a birding trail.”

“With benches,” added Carolyn Wells. Not everyone can run and jump, but most people would enjoy sitting on a bench, watching the water. “Old people need a place to stop and rest.”

Darin Mercer announces a Powell community cleanup for 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. Volunteers will meet at Powell Station Park to get vests, bags and gloves. Mercer hopes to offer the cleanup quarterly. It is cosponsored by First Baptist Powell and the PBPA.

“Build ramps for put-in and take-out (of watercraft),” said the fellow from the Beaver Creek Kayak Association.

“Art in public places with a water theme,” said Charley Sexton. “Great idea,” said Goodpaster. “Let’s inventory the art already here.” Powell has art???

“A hammock garden with hammocks available for rent at LifeHouse Coffee,” said Goodpaster. What’s a hammock garden? A bunch of poles stuck securely into the ground from which hammocks can be hung. He also suggested a spot for public forums (fora?)

“Bill Dunn has suggested public spots for fishing,” said Goodpaster. “And I want a way to lock up kayaks, similar to a bike rack.”

“Let’s get a drawing to show our dreams,” said Wells. And with a unanimous “amen,” the meeting adjourned.

Water trail

Beaver Creek from Halls to Melton Hill dam contains 35 water miles, said Arthur. And even though land deeds show private property to the center of the creek in most cases, the water itself is free for all to use. The challenge is to create convenient, public places for access.

The creek gains volume as it approaches the dam, and Arthur said the start point for any kayak or canoe trail should be Clayton Park in Halls. Upstream is just too shallow. Rural Metro has requested mile markers to facilitate emergency service. Arthur said mile marker zero would be at the dam.

Legacy Parks Foundation has $30,000 available for the Beaver Creek water trail – $10,000 from Randy Burleson at Aubrey’s and $20,000 secured by county commissioner Charles Busler. While Arthur thinks $10,000 is more than adequate to install a put-in/take-out, the total doesn’t go far when you’re paying an engineer $1,000 per day to design the structure.

First step – find a civil engineer to handle the project at discounted rate.

An engineer is crucial to obtain required state-issued Aquatic Resource Alteration Permits (ARAP). Knox County also requires “no-rise” certification to ensure construction does not increase flooding downstream. Consultation with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is required, and Arthur suggested doing that first. R. Larry Smith said TWRA builds access ramps with a quota to build a certain number per year.

A consensus is forming around put-ins at Clayton Park in Halls, behind the baseball field at Powell High School and on private property adjacent to the new Weigel’s store on Clinton Highway. Knox County already has ramps at Harrell Stormwater Park (between Powell and Karns) and at Karns Sportspark near Oak Ridge Highway.

A dock for kayak landing would be installed at the new Collier Preserve as part of that project.

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