Projects continue, Collier Preserve set to open

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors

Our Parks and Recreation crews were out in force, working like a (cliché alert!) bunch of busy beavers this week!

We had one crew over at Melton Hill Park, putting together a new dock. We had to close it last year because a lot of the panels needed to be replaced. We hope to have it complete within a few weeks.

We also had folks over at the SportsPark in Karns. They were resurfacing the playground. We try to replace two to three playgrounds a year. At some point, we will have real surfaces on all our playgrounds, rather than mulch. The rubber is much safer over the long run.

Crews also were over at Powell Levi Park, patching the concrete around the concession stand. I can’t say it enough – it might take half a day to patch up – but it’s these little things that count just as much as the big projects.

And speaking of beavers. Our crews continue to clear out the Knox County Water Trail, the 44-mile stretch along Beaver Creek. It’s going to take a while, but they’re pushing forward and moving as fast as they can.

In the meantime, we also were over at New Harvest Park, getting it ready for the annual Farmers Market, which runs from April to roughly September from 3-6 p.m. on Thursdays. This year’s event will kick off April 22 with Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs ringing the bell.

I want to take the time to address a couple of issues. Some folks have asked about the delays to repairing the lights at East Knox Park and Gibbs Park. Let me stress, there was never a delay.

Three companies donated money to replace the wiring that was stolen late last year from the two parks. However, in order to accept the money, it must first be approved by the Knox County Commission. Before that, there’s paperwork and securing the donations. That meant the issue didn’t go before the Commission until late February.

From there, we contacted the companies about doing the work. Because they’re busy due to the Covid-19 pandemic and because supplies are on backorder, they weren’t able to start until this week. The work will be complete.

Also, some folks have asked why we close the dog park at Concord Park when it rains and not some of the other dog parks. We talked about it a lot among the staff and decided to treat that particular dog park like a baseball field since it gets so muddy and abused when it rains.

We post the closing on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Also, other dog parks, like the one at Plumb Creek Park, do get closed sometimes for heavy rain, particularly because that one is built in a flood zone (the land was donated) and it can be dangerous for our guests and their canines.

I almost forgot. By the time you read this, the Collier Preserve, which is adjacent to the Powell Branch Library, will have its official ribbon cutting event (today!). Big shout out to Carol Evans and the Legacy Parks Foundation for making this happen. They were the driving force for securing the grants to build this beautiful new amenity to our parks system.

Please note, the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department also had a busy week.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their work:

  • Gleason Road – guardrail end terminal repair
  • Topside Road – Roadside drainage repair from concentrated runoff causing erosion
  • Collier Preserve Parking Lot – Installation of new parking lot
  • Rhea Road – Repair of cross drainpipe

Enjoy this photo carousel of projects across the county:

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government.

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