Roy Arthur: Knox County’s ‘best man’

Sandra ClarkKarns, Let's Talk, Powell

Roy Arthur’s got it going. He’s hard-working, smart, honest, dependable and visionary. So, it wasn’t a surprise when a hundred or so of his friends and co-workers showed up recently as Mayor Glenn Jacobs declared it Roy Arthur Day in Knox County and the park at 7221 Harrell Road was officially named the Roy Arthur Stormwater Park.

Carol Evans said it was the first park developed by Legacy Parks Foundation. We all saw a scruffy site with exposed red clay but Roy said, “I see great potential here.”

Carol Evans, Roy Arthur, Glenn Jacobs

It was a 10-year project requiring many public and private partnerships, Evans said. “Roy taught us what can be done with remnant land – bad land makes good parks.”

The 19-acre park now features native plants, a rain garden, a walking trail, vegetated stormwater ponds, interpretative signs, a kayak/canoe launch and a permeable parking lot that allows water to be absorbed back into the earth. Bordered by Beaver Creek and a large residential development, the park filters stormwater pollutants entering the creek, replenishes groundwater stores and alleviates localized flooding.

“Roy has devoted a decade to designing and developing this park, which has become a really incredible piece of property,” said Jacobs. “He has put a lot of work into championing projects that improved the health of and access to Beaver Creek.”

The park opened in May 2017. Soon after, it was awarded the Environmental Conservation Award by the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials.

Roy Arthur with masked friends from the Beaver Creek Kayak Club

Commission chair Larsen Jay sponsored the resolution to rename the park. “Roy is a tireless educator (about stormwater),” Jay said. Under Arthur’s leadership, Knox County secured nearly 40 percent of the $500,000 project cost in donations and mobilized over 200 volunteers to help build the park.

Finally, the sign was revealed and Arthur took the microphone. “I’ll be brief,” he said, before thanking everyone in the crowd and several others. During his tenure as the county’s watershed coordinator, Knox County has secured $2.313 million in watershed grants, with $1.5 million used for Beaver Creek.

Chuck James, co-director of Parks and Recreation, lives nearby. He remembers as a boy people dumping tires and brush at the site. “It was an eyesore.”

Arthur’s son and daughter-in-law, Shawn and Karen Arthur, came from Winston-Salem, N.C.

Some of my best writing is stolen borrowed:

  • Gov. Bill Lee is getting tough. At his Thursday press brief, the governor said county mayors “ought to be considering implementing a mask mandate” and if those aren’t strong words, we don’t know what is. (From the Tennessee Lookout)
  • Lucas Brooks, a first-year college student, did some wonderful pre-election research and predicted outcomes in the state House and Senate races. For instance, Sen. Becky Massey started Q3 with almost $400,000, while her Democratic opponent, Dr. Jane George, had $1,529. Lucas wisely called the race “safe Republican.” Catch up with Lucas on Twitter @LucasTBrooks.
  • Peggy Noonan, Oct. 29 in the Wall Street Journal: If Mr. Biden is an extremely lucky man, he will win the presidency and his party will hold the House and lose the Senate. … Mr. Biden will have a handy excuse for his natural moderation: “You guys may want court packing, reparations and taxes on bovine flatulence but I’ve got to get it past Mitch McConnell.” A Republican Senate will let Biden be Biden.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


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