Milton Roberts Center reopens after renovation

Susan EspirituEast Knox, Our Town Neighbors

Mayor Indya Kincannon, members of city council, community partners and an enthusiastic cluster of fun-loving children cut a ceremonial ribbon on 2/6/23 to officially reopen the Milton Roberts Community Center.

This hub for East Knoxville recreation and community gatherings has undergone a dramatic top-to-bottom $1.5 million renovation: New floors, including a beautiful new wooden basketball court / gymnasium, a new roof, new windows, new bleachers and new appliances, furniture and games.

Kids try out the new gym at the Milton Roberts Community Center.

“Apart from the walls and the foundation itself, just about everything is new and better,” Kincannon said. “There’s no comparing the original Milton Roberts Community Center with the new one. This was a complete makeover.

The late Milton Roberts represented Fountain City and East Knoxville on Knoxville City Council for some 40 years. The former Holston-Chilhowee Recreation Center was renamed for him following his service.

The Parks and Recreation Department recently received a Connected Communities Grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Milton Roberts Community Center is the first of 15 community / rec centers that will receive TVA-funded technology upgrades, such as smart TVs and access to laptops and tablets, to go along with the Wi-fi, computers and printers available for public use.

The Milton Roberts Community Center features a modern playground, relocated and installed in 2019. Next door is the Holston-Chilhowee Ballfields, which boast five baseball / softball fields, batting cages, a football field and the one-mile paved Holston-Chilhowee Greenway.

Inside, the community center offers a gymnasium, a kitchen / multipurpose room and a community meeting / recreation room.

Another new amenity is coming soon. The city’s newest dog park will open by spring, to be located just east of the community center and the ballfields.

The center hosts a free after-school program during the school year and a low-cost summer camp for children ages 6-12. In addition to youth programs, the center offers adult open basketball, pickleball and volleyball opportunities, as well as card and board game socials.

The center has been closed for nearly three years. Programs were temporarily moved to other East Knoxville sites.

Paige M. Travis, social media manager for the city of Knoxville, contributed to this report.

Police Chief Paul Noel, the Rev. Myron D. Hill and Mayor Indya Kincannon at the morning service of Bethel A.M.E. Church. Mayor Kincannon said, “beautiful music and a powerful sermon.” Pastor Hill said, Bethel was graced with the mayor of the city, the chief of police and the dean of city preachers, the Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook.” He preached on “Anger Management,” referencing the recent Memphis tragedy and paralleling that to Cain killing Abel.


Austin-East Magnet High School invites all A-E families to an open house on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the main auditorium and campus. Free 2/10 basketball tickets for all attendees plus refreshments and a chance to win raffle prizes. Meet the teachers, check grades and academic progress, get information on Project GRAD, the new 865 Academies, college scholarships and more.

 The MLK Memorial Parade will be Monday, June 19, 2023. It will step off at 10 a.m. at Chilhowee Park and conclude at Dr. Walter E. Hardy Park for a special Beck Juneteenth Memorial Tribute service. Knox County Schools will be on summer break on this date.

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