Knoxville Receives Nine State-Level Parks and Recreation Awards

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Receives Nine State-Level Parks and Recreation Awards

Posted: 11/06/2017
Knoxville was recently honored with nine state-level parks and recreation awards when the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association (TRPA) acknowledged individuals, communities, and organizations for outstanding achievements and projects in the last year. The awards were presented at the association’s 66th annual state conference held in Franklin, Tenn.

Knoxville was recognized for innovative projects, standout staff performance, and model community partners. 

“The TRPA awards highlight the creativity and popularity of Knoxville’s recreation programs,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero. “I’m very proud of our Parks and Recreation team, our community partners, and these collaborative projects that help Knoxville flourish.”

Suttree Landing Park, opened in November 2016, received the Four Star New Facility award in the budget category over $5 million. The 8-acre South Knoxville riverfront park was Knoxville’s first new park in 12 years. 

The park features a river walk, accessible playground, festival lawn and kayak launch. In addition to state-of-the-art features, the park is unique in that it replaced a brownfield and was named after the main character from the novel “Suttree,” written by Knoxville native Cormac McCarthy.

The Aslan Foundation, a charitable foundation of Knoxville, received the Four Star Benefactor Award. In recent years, the Aslan Foundation has made significant contributions that led to securing the River Bluff property, a major piece of the Urban Wilderness, and the Fort Dickerson Gateway opened earlier this year. 

Brian Hann, a Knoxville advocate and community leader for trails and the Urban Wilderness, was awarded the Four Star Individual Service Award for his second time. He received the 2017 honor for his leadership of the Knoxville Greenways Commission, serving as Chairman. In 2011, he received the award for his community organizing through the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club to build miles of trails in the Urban Wilderness.

Several City of Knoxville staff members were also recognized at the TRPA state conference.

Joe Walsh, recently retired Knoxville Parks and Recreation Director, was honored with TRPA’s Lifetime Member Award. Walsh served the City of Knoxville for 30 years, implementing many major City recreation projects and programs throughout the years. 

Aaron Browning, Deputy Director for the Parks and Recreation Department, received the Distinguished Young Professional Award. Browning began work for Knoxville Parks and Recreation in 2012 and was named Deputy Director last year. He has spearheaded many projects, including Knoxville’s introduction to pickle ball and implementation of the City’s online recreation reservations, among others.
Daniel Alexander, a Recreation Center Leader for the City of Knoxville, received the Maynard Glenn Award for his programming at Inskip Recreation Center. Alexander focuses on offering inclusive recreation programming, which he has dubbed “Dynamic Recreation.” The programming uses innovative approaches that allow people of all abilities to be active and participate in sports together. 

Likewise, Inskip Recreation Center received the Donald H. Stanton Award, which is presented by TRPA’s Ethnic Minority Section. In recent years, Inskip Recreation Center has provided inclusive programming, such as Power Soccer, which allows people to play the sport in wheelchairs, and Adult-Sized Foosball, which encourages the use of therapeutic motor skills.

The City of Knoxville received a Four Star Marketing Award in the print category for its 2016 Parks and Recreation Guide. The annual publication outlines recreation news, programs and facilities provided by the City.

A Knoxville Parks and Recreation intern was also recognized at the TRPA conference. The Tennessee Recreation and Park Education Foundation awarded Leigh Belmont, a current student at the University of Tennessee, with a $1,000 scholarship. 
For a list of all of the 2017 TRPA award recipients, visit