South End of World's Fair Park Closing

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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South End of World's Fair Park Closing

Posted: 10/15/2010
A section of the south end of World's Fair Park will be closed beginning Sunday, October 17, for the drilling of a well that will use water from an underground aquifer to fill the park's small lake and for irrigation.

The work is part of an ongoing program of city-wide energy improvements being made by the City of Knoxville through a contract with the energy services company, Ameresco. The aquifer lies about 250 feet beneath the surface of World's Fair Park between downtown and the Fort Sanders Neighborhood.

The well is going to be drilled in the center of the walkway adjacent to the park's South Performance Lawn just before it reaches the pedestrian bridge over Cumberland Avenue. Sunday will be a preparation day and the work begins in earnest on Monday.

"We start on Monday and it will take about two weeks from first cut to final walk away," said Jusbyn A. Lockard, project manager with Ameresco. That means the closing will be in effect until at least October 29.

The city currently pays KUB for the water that fills the small lake in the heart of World's Fair Park as well as the water feature near the Knoxville Convention Center. The city won't pay anything for the water from the aquifer, though there will be an operating cost for the electric pump needed to bring that water to the surface.

As with all of the Ameresco projects the savings on this one will pay for the cost of the well's installation. The project will save the city $13,000 annually and have a payback in four years.

During the drilling and installation work the walkway will be closed starting at the point where it travels past the Tennessee Amphitheater through the park and across Cumberland Avenue. That includes:

The pedestrian bridge over Cumberland leading to the UT Campus and Second Creek Greenway The pedestrian bridge over the water next to the convention center The walkway over the railroad tracks leading to the park's South Performance Lawn

City Council approved the ambitious $19 million energy conservation package with Ameresco, a Massachusetts-based company, in late 2009 that will save the city millions of dollars while reducing its energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The energy savings generated are expected to pay the cost of installing and maintaining the improvements in less than 15 years.

Ameresco has completed nearly 30 percent of the upgrades – which involve energy efficiency improvements in areas ranging from lighting packages and insulation to more efficient heat and air systems and use of renewable energy sources – to the city's 99 buildings, 37 ballparks and athletic fields and its three public golf courses.

The city currently spends slightly more than $4 million a year on utilities. The planned improvements are expected to generate an average savings of $1.5 million a year over the next 13 years.