As Fountain City historian Dr. Jim Tumblin wrote earlier today, Fountain City is blessed with two public landmarks, the lake and the park, preserved for public use without municipal ownership. The park and lake are deeded to the citizens of Fountain City and managed by the volunteer board known as the Fountain City Park Commission.
Fountain City Lions Club stepped up to help maintain the park and lake many years ago, so many that new president Roger Byrd doesn’t remember when exactly. Now, the Lions Club maintains the park and lake through donations and volunteer effort as a club tradition and labor of love. But, they can always use help.
Byrd joined the Lions Club three years ago after retiring from 40 years of service in the Knoxville Fire Department. He attended a Central High School reunion with his wife and there met several Lions Club members who asked if he would join.
“They probably saw something in me that I didn’t see,” said Byrd.
Now, Byrd is putting out a call for members and non-member volunteers to help with the park and lake, making a list of groups and individuals who can help with projects when the need arises. Folks can give an area of expertise like carpentry or painting, or a jack-of-all-trades can just say, “anything.”
Monetary donations are always needed, too.
“Money drives everything. I hate to say it like that, but it’s the truth,” said Byrd.
The Lions Club holds three major fundraisers each year: a spaghetti dinner, a chili supper and a pancake breakfast. Byrd said the income from all three combined is about $6,000.
“This park is very expensive to maintain,” he said. “It doesn’t take long to use up $6,000 pretty quick.”
As examples, he pointed to a broken slide set to be replaced in the next couple of weeks. The replacement is $1,600. When the wetland installation at Fountain City Lake is complete and the lake is full again, the group will be able to start treating the lake with anti-algae chemicals again. Those cost $300 per treatment every other week. Byrd also wants to upgrade the park’s surveillance system, but the upgrade will cost at least $7,000.
The Lions Club is receiving help from the city of Knoxville, even though the park and lake are not city parks. Knoxville reimburses the Lions Club for what they spend on mowing every quarter, and the city has also made extensive repairs and renovations to the lake, including the project currently underway.
“The city has always been very gracious,” said Byrd. “The mayor and the council have been very good to us. If it weren’t for the generosity of the city, this place would not near as nice as it is.”
Prisoners from the Knox County Detention Center are set to clear algae from the Fountainhead spring area at the back of the park next week, after which the Lions Club will start treating that water against algae bloom as well.
Boy Scout Troop 13 meets in the Fountain City Lions Club building, and Byrd said they often do service projects at the park. A local church meets at the park for service projects every fifth Sunday.
If you can’t volunteer or donate, Byrd just asks that you help keep the park and lake clean. Put your trash in a trash can and pick up other litter you see. If you’re using the pavilions for a party and have a lot of trash, bring your own trash bags and take your trash to the dumpster behind the Lions Club building.
“We just want people to have a nice place to go,” said Byrd. “There are opportunities out here if anybody
wants to get involved.”
Membership in the Fountain City Lions Club is open to men and women. The club meets at the Lions Club building in Fountain City Park 6 p.m. every first and third Monday.
To put your name on the volunteer list or to donate funds, call Roger Byrd at 865-740-9910.