TWRA’s Free Fishing Day returns in June

Mike DonilaOur Town Outdoors

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency plans to hold a Free Fishing Day this year although it will be more scaled back than usual.

I should have more details soon. As of now, I can say that the Cove at Concord Park will host the free event on Saturday, June 12, from 8 a.m. to noon. Free Fishing Day is held each summer and geared toward family and children, and those who participate can fish without a license for the day. For more information from TWRA, go here.

OK, on with the other stuff. We had a lot going on this past week.

Construction crews are wrapping up work on the parking lot for Collier Preserve, just off Emory Road and adjacent to the Powell Branch Library.

The Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department initially placed gravel prior to the opening. Since then, workers have come back and paved it, put in curb stops and striped the lot. This week, crews brought in topsoil to level off the lot and cut a swale so water wouldn’t drain onto it.

“We did some cleanup work to make it look really nice,” said Jim Snowden, senior director of E&PW. The lot cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to construct.

Snowden said TDOT has asked the county to slightly widen the Emory Road entrance. He said that would take a day or two to finish. If you haven’t had the chance, go check out the preserve. It features an ADA walkway, nature path, native plants, a birding platform and a kayak rest stop on Beaver Creek.

Someone ran over the gate at Powell Levi Park, so we had some crews out there fixing that. We also put up fencing at East Knox Park to cut off some dangerous trails folks created and were using. The fence will separate the trails from the fields. Additionally, we installed a fence at Roy Arthur Stormwater Park (off Harrell Road) to keep people out of the bordering private property.

We also had our one-man machine Frank Christian out checking fire extinguishers and exit signs, making sure they’re up to code.

And, we had a crew install drainage at the playgrounds for French Park. Next up, we will remove the old surfaces and put in drainage at Tank Strickland Park and Mascot Park before installing new surfaces.

As always, we have folks in Beaver Creek working on the Knox County Water Trail.

“We have people in there every day,” said Jason Halliburton, maintenance supervisor for the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s a slow process but it’s moving.”

Halliburton said the department also is working to bring in a contractor to remove some log jams in the Halls and Powell area of the creek.

Please note that the Powell Station Park splash pad might not be open when you read this column. We had some equipment issues and our folks are working on it.

On the Recreation side, our nine baseball organizations are wrapping up a spring baseball with roughly 3,300 local youth participating in end-of-season tournaments at their respective parks. The youth fast-pitch softball league also is wrapping up in the next week. Almost 500 people participated in the league.

I wanted to include a plug for Knox County Public Library, which is launching its Summer Adventure with outdoor programs and enrichment activities.

Families can drop by any Library starting May 23 to pick up their Hidden Picture challenge. Starting June 2, the Library is joining the City of Knoxville’s Kid A’ riffic Fun in the Park series with some take-home activities and Story Trails. Magician Michael Messing will show off his Abracadabra on select Saturdays throughout the summer.

Storytimes are returning under a tree (or tent) at various libraries. Plus, children and teens have a chance to display their art inspired by the “Tails and Tales” theme in the Summer Art Show. Registration is required. Times and locations are listed here.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the other great work that the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Department did this week. Here’s a snapshot:

  • Woodhollow Lane  – installation of new stormwater drainage pipes as a result of failing existing drainage system
  • Byington Solway Road – roadway shoulder repair
  • 7119 Calgary Drive – dirty lot structure removal and cleanup
  • Jenkins Road – roadway shoulder and ditch repair
  • Millertown Pike – guardrail repair

Enjoy this carousel of photos of work and play across the county:

Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government

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