Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knoxville looking to improve Fort Dickerson Park, quarry in South

City leaders and designers held a brainstorming session Monday to see what the public would like to improve about Fort Dickerson Park and the quarry in South Knoxville.

David Brace, the city of Knoxville's public works director, said access and amenities are some of the top priorities to make the lake and surrounding area a better attraction.

"We need better access so that everyone can get back to the quarry, all of our customers," Brace said. "We need good parking. We need restrooms. We need a vendor with their staff, or we need our own city staff down at the space."

People walked through a replica of the park and its surroundings on the floor of the Kern's Bakery Building Monday night, viewing design options and offering opinions with sticky notes on displays.

PREVIOUS: City takes public comment about Fort Dickerson plans

Kevin Hill and his family, who live close to the quarry, came to the meeting to offer ideas and see what is in store for the future of the park.

"We moved here specifically to live in South Knoxville and be a part of the reinvention of South Knoxville as an urban, mixed-use, outdoor lifestyle community," Hill said.

Hill also owns Uncle Lem's Mountain Outfitters, which is opening a new location on Sevier Avenue to accommodate the growth along the South Knoxville waterfront and hopefully at the quarry soon.

"This isn't just impacting South Knoxville," Hill said. "This will become the magnet that brings the attention of the entire country to Knoxville."

The city will invest about $160,000 into the basic infrastructure for parking and any needed utilities, Brace said, and the Aslan Foundation will pay for the design surrounding the lake.

Brace said the meeting Monday was only the first step in transforming Fort Dickerson Park, but he said he heard a variety of opinions from people about what kinds of amenities could be options for the future.

"People are excited," Brace said. "They want more. They love really that part of South Knoxville, Fort Dickerson."

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