More than 50 residents came out for Wednesday night’s public meeting to give feedback on proposed enhancements to the Fort Dickerson Park entrance on Chapman Highway.
The City recently completed a $1 million road realignment project in which Fort Dickerson Road was adjusted to line up with Woodlawn Pike on Chapman Highway with a much-needed traffic signal. Now, thanks to a land purchase and significant financial donation from the Aslan Foundation, a previously closed car repair shop on an adjacent property to the park entrance has been demolished to make way for park improvements.
Councilman Nick Pavlis welcomed everyone to the meeting and Mayor Madeline Rogero gave an overview of public interest she has received over the years for improving the site, noting work done in the park by the Civil War Roundtable, the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, and now the Aslan Foundation.
“The Aslan Foundation could have donated the purchased property and we would have been grateful for that,” said Mayor Rogero. “But they went even further by donating funds to ensure that this entrance was taken to the next level. They deserve a lot of credit for that.”
After Joe Walsh, City Parks and Recreation Director, reviewed the history and needs of Fort Dickerson Park, Cliff Brooks from Carol R. Johnson Associates presented the proposed renderings for the park’s new entrance.
The proposal includes stone veneer on the three-story retaining wall that was recently built to accommodate the road realignment, twin stone pillars towering at 15 feet that will frame the entrance into the park, a grassy lawn surrounded by a circular stone bench, a covered KAT bus stop, and accessible sidewalk and greenway access.
The gateway proposal also addresses landscaping - flowering trees and flowers in addition to the grassy lawn.
Consistently, residents initiated their comments and questions with enthusiasm about the proposed renderings. The most frequent comments about the proposal were requests for wayfinding signs, symbolic indicators near the street that brand the park as a historic Civil War site, and, for child safety, a more reinforced buffer between what will be a new green space and Chapman Highway.
Parking for the new portion of the park will be accessed from above the new entrance, in an existing lot adjacent to the quarry overlook. Experts at Carol R. Johnson Associates are currently collaborating with Lori Goerlich, the City Greenways Coordinator, to create ADA compliant greenway access between the parking lot and new green space that will be at the park’s entrance.
While accessible sidewalks for the new entrance are still under construction, the rest of the road realignment project has been completed. Requests for proposals to make the enhancements will be sought later this spring, after City officials have incorporated suggestions from public feedback.
Construction should be completed by the end of 2016.
Click HERE to view a video the public meeting filmed by CTV.
For more information on the Fort Dickerson Park entrance road realignment and improvements, please visit www.knoxvilletn.gov. To submit comments on this project, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.