Storms bring maintenance woes

Mike DonilaFun Outdoors

The Knox County Parks and Recreation crews have focused on a lot of little, albeit, important things this past week.

We’ve had a spate of broken toilets at parks, and water fountains for the canines at the dog parks that needed major repairs.

And we’ve had to continue working on the splash pads. They’re getting older, so there’s more wear and tear on them, but we’re hoping to keep them up and running for years to come.

In addition, … trees.

“They’ve fallen everywhere because of all the popup thunderstorms and the strong winds that have happened,” said Mike Edsell, who is over special projects for the department. “That’s really taken up a lot of our time. Plus, there’s a lot of hanging limbs that are especially dangerous. We’ve had to take them down. Safety is certainly a top priority.”

Edsell added that a number of trees also fell across some of the county’s trails, so they had to remove those as well.

Beaver Creek: The department is still working on a plan to keep Beaver Creek – which we’re calling a “blue trail” – clear for kayakers. Ideally, we’d like to put together a crew that can keep the roughly 40 miles from Clayton Park in Halls all the way to Melton Hill Lake clear. Sadly, we’re a bit short of money as revenue has dried up because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, we’re going to continue focusing on the two-mile strip from Powell High School to Clinton Highway that the Enhance Powell organization uses for its annual August flotilla.

Ballfields: Crews also have been working on the ballfields, getting them read for baseball and football. “We’re not sure if those spots will take place, but you have to have the fields ready just in case,” said Jason Halliburton, the department’s maintenance supervisor.

  • The Health Department at this point has given us permission to hold the Second Saturday Concert series on Aug. 8. Left Foot Dave and the Magic Hats is planned for the Cove at Concord Park and Wild Blue Yonder is set to play at Clayton Park.
  • Crews also spent time at Melton Hill Park installing new bollards and fixing the irrigation system at the Beverly Park Par 3 Golf Course.
  • In addition, The Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department was busy the past couple of days. A culvert washed out on Haws Road in South Knoxville near Martin Mill Pike, creating a 12-foot deep hole. “It looked more or less like a sinkhole but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle,” said Jim Snowden, the department’s senior director. “We’ve got great folks out there and they are always successfully dealing with all the little nuances that pop up every week.”

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government.

Finished work on the bollards

Engineering & Public Works staff fill a sinkhole on Haws Road in South Knoxville.

Other news

“Accomplice,” a mountain bike film produced by Teton Gravity Research, will play Thursday, July 30, on the big screen at the Parkway Drive-In. The film will benefit the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club with local support from Harper’s Audi. Gates open at 7 p.m. with the movie at 9, followed by “Anomaly,” a Teton Gravity fan-favorite ski and snowboard film.

Ijams Nature Center is a 315-acre urban greenspace featuring 12+ miles of natural-surface trails and a stretch of the Will Skelton Greenway. All trails are hiker friendly, and thanks to a partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, 9+ miles in the Mead’s Quarry and Ross Marble Natural Area of the nature center also are designed for mountain bikers. Info here.

Paddle at Ijams: Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard from RiverSports Outfitters for $14/hour and enjoy the lake at Mead’s Quarry. Private boats are not allowed on the lake. Hours for on-site rental are Monday-Saturday, 10-7; Sunday, noon-7. Info here or phone 865-523-0066.

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