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Lakeshore Park celebrates expansion plans at fundraising kickoff event


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 5, 2015) – Today, the Lakeshore Park Board unveiled its plans to enlarge, enhance and beautify the 185-acre public park. The Lakeshore Park Board also announced the launch of a major capital campaign to fund park improvements, with a first phase goal of $25 million and a longer term goal of $50 million, and welcomed a $15 million lead gift from Pilot Corporation, the Haslam family and several Haslam family foundations. Pilot executives, Haslam family members and a group of community, business and philanthropic leaders attended the announcement.


“We are excited about this first step in the expansion plan coming to life. A gift to Lakeshore Park is an investment in the future of our community,” said Cardin Bradley, Director of Development, “and we are grateful for the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J’s contributions and ongoing support over the years.” The City of Knoxville has provided substantial infrastructure for the park, but all park improvements, including the baseball fields, soccer fields, playgrounds and walking trail, have been funded through contributions from businesses, foundations, families and individuals. Future improvements will also be funded through private contributions to the capital campaign.

The first new project funded by the capital campaign is the state-of-the-art, fully accessible Hank Rappé Playground, which opened on September 11, 2015. Other First Phase improvement highlights at Lakeshore Park include:

  • Walking Trail – construction of two more miles of the walking trail, giving trail users alternate routes and the option of choosing more or less challenging routes. New trail areas will include a trail along Fourth Creek, extension of the Lyons View trail through the gardens area, and trails leading to the center of the park. Most of the trails will be lighted, and the planned hours of operation are 5am to 10pm, to ensure that this valuable recreational resource is available to everyone. Long term plans call for 8 miles of walking trails with varying degrees of difficulty through different areas of the park.
  • Canoe/Kayak Launch – a pier and concrete ramp for launching small, non-motorized vessels into Fourth Creek, with adjacent parking, boat wash, showers and picnic areas and trail enhancements.
  • River Walk – a quiet, wooded river overlook adjacent to the riverfront section of the trail, with a seating area and cantilevered deck extending over the marsh and long lagoon to the river’s edge.
  • Lakeshore Hall –a year-round facility in the center of the park, which includes the original Lakeshore Chapel, updated to modern standards, and adjoining wings with a multi-purpose room, catering kitchen, restrooms and changing rooms. Lakeshore Hall will be suitable for weddings, funerals, musical performances, theatrical performances, meetings, dinners, exhibits, classes, social events and many other uses. For larger events, the Hall can be used in connection with the Lakeshore Pavilion, an open pavilion with restroom facilities that faces Lakeshore Hall across a central square and gardens.
  • Recreation Fields — large central recreation fields will be open to the public for baseball, soccer, lacrosse and other activities. The fields will also be available for large special events.
  • River Pavilion — a large, open pavilion which will accommodate over two hundred people at seated events. It provides river and mountain views and includes a fireplace, catering kitchen and restrooms.
  • Hilltop Gardens —hilltop gardens, garden buildings, terraces and a scenic overlook on the prominent hilltop which gave “Lyons View” its name.
  • Other Improvements — include additional picnic pavilions, restrooms, open fields, gardens, playgrounds, parking and more.

“Lakeshore Park is not only a community asset, it also is a place our family has enjoyed and appreciated for many years,” said Ann Bailey, Lakeshore Park capital campaign committee member. “Our family grew up with this park, and this gift ensures that other families will be able to enjoy it for years to come.”

“In addition to being a special place for our family, Lakeshore also has been a really special place for our company and team members,” said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J and a Lakeshore Park Board member. “Not only does it align with our company’s health and wellness initiatives, it has been a place we’ve enjoyed at company events over the years, and we hope this gift ensures that it will be a community resource for a very long time.”

“The ability to develop a large, centrally located public park with something for everyone is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community,” said Bradley, “particularly on one of the most beautiful sites in the City.” The park is being developed pursuant to a master plan which is based on a year-long public input process managed and donated by U30 Group. This is also the first time a major public park has been fully funded through private contributions.

For more information and additional opportunities to donate or assist with the expansion project, please visit:

About Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America, is committed to making life better for professional drivers. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations, 52 Goodyear Commercial Tire Centers (Wingfoot) and 44 Boss Shops which accept MyRewards loyalty cards, Pilot Flying J’s loyalty rewards program. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 70,000 parking spaces for trucks, 4,800 showers and more than 4,400 diesel lanes offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 7 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit for more information.

About Lakeshore Park

With 185 acres of open green space spanning magnificent rolling hills with spectacular views of the Tennessee River and Great Smoky Mountains there are countless places to rest, relax and spend quality time with friends and family. The park currently offers miles of paved walking trails, baseball, softball and soccer fields, open areas for picnics, sunning or playing, two playgrounds, a farmers market and countless other amenities making it a warm and welcoming public place.

Lakeshore Park operates as a unique public/private partnership between the City of Knoxville and the Lakeshore Park Board. Lakeshore Park is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 charity which manages the park and construction of park improvements pursuant to a management agreement with the City of Knoxville.

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