The Lakeshore Park Board and Mayor Madeline Rogero opened several new park facilities at Lakeshore Park on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and hosted an appreciation event for park contributors.
The announcement was made at 4 p.m. at a new scenic overlook near the Lyons View entrance to the Park at 6410 S. Northshore Drive. The reception was at Marble Hall (the former Lakeshore Mental Health Institute Chapel) which has been renovated as a pavilion for special events.
ther contributors were honored afterwards at the reception at Marble Hall.
Lakeshore Park is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Knoxville and the Lakeshore Park non-profit corporation. The City provided the land, demolished the buildings, restored the historic administration building and installed underground utilities. All park improvements have been constructed by the Lakeshore Park non-profit corporation, and the Park board manages the park. The corporation has raised more than $21 million in contributions from businesses, families, foundations and park supporters. The non-profit corporation also raises funds annually for enhanced maintenance of park facilities and landscaping and for day-to-day operations at the park.
Mayor Rogero said “This is a well-deserved recognition of the Haslam family’s whole-hearted investment in the vision for Lakeshore Park. Knoxville is fortunate to have such generous civic leaders. The ongoing improvements are already revealing the park as a crown jewel, showcasing Knoxville’s recreation attributes and breathtaking scenery.”
The first new project, the Hank Rappé Accessible Playground, opened in September 2015, and park-wide construction started on November 1, 2016. Among the completed improvements that were opened on November 14 are an additional mile of walking trail; Marble Hall, a semi-enclosed pavilion, and Marble Pavilion, an open pavilion, both of which are open for public use and available by reservation for special events; a picnic area with a picnic shelter between the upper baseball fields and the Tennessee River; new restroom facilities, two additional landscaped parking lots and the new overlook.
The Park Board said more park improvements are currently under construction that will open in March 2018, including an additional mile of trail, (bringing the park trail system to a total of four miles), a riverwalk through a natural marsh and woodlands on the banks of the Tennessee River, a fishing pier, picnic area and water access on Fourth Creek and a two acre Bermuda grass field which can hold special events of up to 1500 people, with adjacent restrooms and temporary parking areas.
Lakeshore Park is the most utilized public green space in Knoxville. The park’s 185 acres welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who use its walking trails, athletic fields, playgrounds, farmers market, event spaces and open green areas and enjoy spectacular views of the Tennessee River and Great Smoky Mountains.
The Lakeshore Park non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation developed the park and raises 100% of the park’s annual budget pursuant to a management agreement with the City of Knoxville. Funds contributed to the Park’s annual fundraising program go toward enhanced maintenance of the park facilities and landscaping and operation of the park. Construction of the additional improvements shown in the park’s long term Master Plan is dependent upon private sector support and contributions from the Knoxville community. The Master Plan includes gardens, a green amphitheater, outdoor basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, and overlooks and terraces, as well as enhancement of the park’s trees, plants and landscaping. The Park Board welcomes contributions toward operating costs and maintenance and for construction of new improvements.
NEW PHASE 1A IMPROVEMENTS
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An additional mile of walking trail has been added to the trail system. The new trail sections that are now open are located in the center of the park and near the Lyons View entrance. A new quarter-mile section runs from the main road to the riverfront. Another quarter-mile section runs from the main road to the hilltop parking lots, providing a more accessible alternative to the steep trail section above the upper ballfields. Another half-mile of trail connects to the existing trail along Lyons View Pike and traverses the woodlands to the left of the Lyons View entrance.
Marble Hall is a 3,000 square foot covered, semi-enclosed pavilion with front and side terraces, restrooms and a stage. The main hall is approximately 1,800 square feet with open sides which lead to the front and side terraces. There are landscaped planting beds and two landscaped parking lots adjacent to the hall. The Hall and parking lots are fully lighted for nighttime events. A large front lawn leads to the Marble Pavilion. Marble Hall is open to the public and can be reserved for special events.
The Marble Pavilion is a new 26 x 34 open pavilion on an 80 x 62 foot terrace. The marble for Marble Pavilion came from a quarry in Friendsville, Tennessee operated by Tennessee Marble Company. The marble for Marble Hall came from the same quarry in 1958. The Pavilion is also fully lighted and available for public use or scheduled events.
A new picnic area has opened between the upper baseball fields and the Tennessee River, which can be accessed through the new parking lot and river trail section. The area includes 8 individual tables plus a covered shelter with 4 picnic tables. The tables are available for public use. The shelter can also be reserved for special events and family outings.
A new restroom facility is opening in the center of the park, adjacent to the new trail section
leading to the hilltop. The restrooms are heated and air conditioned and will be available for trail
users, general park visitors and special events on the new events field. The events field will open
New Parking Lots
Two new parking lots will open in the center of the park. The 114 space River Lot is located between
the main road and the Tennessee River, adjacent to the upper baseball fields. The entrance
drive is adjacent to the parking lot for the Hank Rappé Playground.
A new 48 space lot will open soon across the main road from the playground lot, adjacent to the
new restroom facilities.
Both new lots and the playground parking lot were constructed using permeable pavers, which
help manage storm water, prevent runoff and pollution and replenish the ground water supply.
The Haslam Overlook is a new scenic overlook on the hill above the Lyons View entrance which offers spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Tennessee River as well as a panoramic view of the park itself. An 8.5 ton block of cedar marble from a Friendsville quarry commemorates the contributions of Jimmy and Dee Haslam, the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J to the park.
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