City to Build New Playground at World's Fair Park

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City to Build New Playground at World's Fair Park

Posted: 01/27/2009
The City of Knoxville will build a new playground next to the fountains in World's Fair Park and hopes to have it open and ready for play by the end of the 2009 school year.

The Public Building Authority, which manages World's Fair Park for the city, released a request for proposals last week for firms interested in designing and installing the new playground. It will be designed to serve children ages five and up.

The location has become an increasingly popular spot for families, especially on warm summer days. It is on the north end of World's Fair Park near the old L&N Station and the East Tennessee Veteran's Memorial.

In addition to the playing in the water feature, the lawn near the fountains is a popular area for everything from reading and sitting in the sun to tossing footballs and Frisbees. It's also the scene of numerous festivals and special events that draw thousands of visitors to World's Fair Park.

The new World's Fair Park playground will be located in the green space just across from the fountains and west of the memorial.

"The reason we're doing this is that the fountains are getting more and more use every year," said City Parks Director Joe Walsh," and we're trying to enhance the recreational experience of people visiting the park."

"Plus a playground there will give families another reason to visit World's Fair Park and downtown," he added.

The city has budgeted about $130,000 for development of the World's Fair Park Playground. The proposal includes some suggested playground equipment.

Those suggestions were the result of meetings with students at four Knoxville elementary schools who participated in a "kids' forum," where they voiced their preferences.

Currently Fort Kid, a playground with wooden structures located on the west, or Fort Sanders side of the park, serves as the World's Fair Park's playground.

"Fort Kid has been very popular but geographically it presents some challenges," Walsh said because of the distance between Fort Kid and the fountains and the parking areas serving the park.

Fort Kid will remain in use after the new playground is built but it will be phased out over time as the equipment there begins to wear out and is not replaced. It is the last playground in the city's parks with all wood equipment, which is more difficult to find and is also less durable and more costly than current materials used in playground equipment.

The proposals are due on February 19th and a selection committee comprised of representatives from the city, PBA and the Knox County School System will pick the preferred proposal.

The city would like for the work to be completed by May 22.