City Introduces New Greenway Ranger

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Introduces New Greenway Ranger

Posted: 09/16/2009
Mayor Bill Haslam introduced the city's new Greenway Ranger Wednesday at Volunteer Landing and accepted a gift from the Knoxville Track Club that will help the new guy do his job.

Parks & Recreation Director Joe Walsh, City Greenway Ranger Matt Butzlaff, Mayor Bill Haslam, Knoxville Track Club Managing Director Kristy Altman, and Executive Director of Legacy Parks Carol EvansMatt Butzlaff will be making his rounds on the greenways in a new, four-wheel drive utility vehicle called a Gator, which the KTC bought for the city. Butzlaff is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and is an AmeriCorps volunteer operating out of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee which manages the program locally.

He began working with the city a few days ago in a position that will see him split his time between the Parks and Recreation and Public Service Departments.

Butzlaff's role with both city departments will focus primarily on the network of greenways radiating out from downtown area and along the Tennessee River and in the city's recycling efforts. The new position is part of a one-year pilot program made possible through a cooperative effort of the Legacy Parks Foundation - it approached the city with the idea - and the Parks and Recreation and Public Service Departments which worked with the Foundation to make the proposed program a reality.

"This program really is an example of what can happen when groups, in this case the Legacy Parks Foundation, the KTC and two different city departments work together to make something good happen for the city and its residents," Haslam said. "We're excited that Matt is here and we know he's going to do a great job for Knoxville." The Legacy Parks Foundation and the city are splitting the AmeriCorps fee and the CAC approved the program. Butzlaff's time will be split 50/50 between Public Service and Parks and Recreation. The Central Business Improvement District also provided financial support for the program. 
"It's great collaboration and that's really what we like doing, working with different groups and leveraging their resources with others to make a greater impact than they could on their own," said Carol Evans, executive director of the Legacy Parks Foundation.

She said the greenways, particularly downtown, are one of the foundation's priorities and the organization wanted to have someone who is essentially an ambassador for the greenways in place to help its users and improve it.

Evans described the waterfront as being, "like a showplace for downtown," and noted that practically every visitor who comes to downtown Knoxville goes there.

The Knoxville Track Club was already looking to do something for the city when it learned about the greenway ranger program. That helped club members make their decision to purchase the Gator to help the new program. "We wanted to do something to show our appreciation for the city's support of our races and programs," said KTC Managing Director Kristy Altman. "We're very interested in improving the greenways and this gift to the city is a great way to achieve both of those aims." 
"These contributions to the city are characteristic of the Legacy Parks Foundation and the KTC," Haslam said. "They do so much to make our city a better place to live and we're very grateful for their efforts." 
The day-to-day details of the new position are still being worked out but Parks and Recreation Director Joe Walsh and Public Service Department Director David Brace have a general idea what Butzlaff will be doing. 
"The bottom line is he's our eyes and ears on the greenway, he's going to be out there nearly every day interacting with trail users, the neighbors who live along the trail and with partners like Calhoun's and Ruth's Chris and UT," Walsh said adding that he will help greenway users, assist with events like the city's upcoming CrossKnox 15K race and help implement the city's new Adopt-a-Park program.

Butzlaff, 23, is also working with Public Service on its recycling programs. Brace said he is working on some new recycling efforts including a project with the Knoxville Ice Bears.

Brace said Butzlaff will develop some greenway beautification projects and will work with groups that want to do greenway projects like churches or Boy Scout troops. 
"We're going to funnel those projects to him and he'll be the guy who will work with these groups to get things done," Brace said.