Still on duty, Rogero lets love of paddling show

Betsy PickleOur Town Outdoors

The boss treated city staffers to a special casual Friday as she headlined the celebration of a new kayak launch, floating dock and picnic pavilion at Suttree Landing Park in South Knoxville.

Mayor Madeline Roger enjoys a break on the Tennessee River adjacent to Suttree Landing Park.

Mayor Madeline Rogero seemed as pleased as anyone to have a “casual kayak Friday” last week.

“This is really the best way to spend Friday afternoon – isn’t it? – out here by the water,” Rogero said as she began her remarks.

A pavilion with restrooms and a covered picnic area is next to the launch at the east end of Suttree Landing Park, 1001 Waterfront Drive.

The $2 million in new amenities – Rogero cited the “new pavilion, a covered picnic area, restrooms, the floating dock and our first city-owned ADA-accessible kayak launch” – was part of the vision when Suttree Landing opened in November 2016.

“Altogether, with this new project and what we had before, we’ve invested $8.5 million here in South Knoxville as part of this Urban Wilderness project,” said Rogero. “So we are very excited to celebrate the official opening of these upgrades.”

A kayaker herself, Rogero said she appreciated having another launch for paddlers.

“When I got into kayaking about 20 years ago … you had to go a little farther and you had to paddle a little longer to be able to get out once you got in. Now, over the past seven and a half years, we have added more launches as a part of our commitment to outdoor recreation.

Former Knoxville City Council member Gary Underwood and Chris Morton, who’s involved with two nearby Sevier Avenue businesses, catch up at the ribbon-cutting.

“This is one more way that we are connecting the urban with the wild and trying to bring our neighborhoods in South Knoxville together but also people from all over.”

Vice Mayor Finbarr Saunders and fellow City Council members Lauren Rider, Seema Singh, Marshall Stair and Stephanie Welch (who represents South Knoxville), former council member Gary Underwood of South Knoxville, County Commissioner Carson Dailey of South Knoxville, Parks & Recreation director Sheryl Ely, city and PBA staff and representatives from the project’s design and development team joined Rogero for the event.

Kyle Mules from Catalyst Sports did the honors as the first to use the accessible launch and was then followed by the mayor and various others.

Mayor Rogero, elected officials, city staffers and supporters cut the ribbon to open officially the kayak launch at Suttree Landing Park.

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