Mary Vestal Greenway Extension & Vestal Gateway Park Now Open

Communications Director

Jesse Fox Mayshark
jmayshark@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3710

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

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News item

Mary Vestal Greenway Extension & Vestal Gateway Park Now Open

Posted: 06/04/2018
Mary Vestal Greenway ExtA 0.3-mile extension of Mary Vestal Greenway built by the City’s new Greenways Service Crew now links City facilities like the South Knoxville Community Center, the indoor Elmer Brine Pool and two parks that serve as the end points of the greenway.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in the new Vestal Gateway Park, located at 4119 W. Martin Mill Pike (near the Ogle Avenue intersection). From that point, the now 0.7-mile trail heads southward to the South Knoxville Community Center (and Elmer Brine Pool), passing behind the center and crossing Maryville Pike to the 18-acre Mary Vestal Park.

“This project is a great example of how greenway connections can amplify options in a community,” said Sheryl Ely, Parks and Recreation Director. “The seniors and children who attend programming in our community center can now get there independently, without the need of a car, thanks to the Public Service crew’s work.”

Mayor Madeline Rogero announced the creation of the Greenways Service Crew at the same location in December 2016. After that, Parks and Recreation staff secured two easements so that the crew could begin work.

In addition to maintaining the City’s current 112-mile greenway and trail system, the goal is for the crew to create two new miles of trails each year. 

The Greenways Service Crew is a five-person team with its own fleet that allows it to do heavy equipment work in the far reaches of Knoxville’s trail system. To date, the crew has built more than two new miles of trails. 

“With this new crew, our goal is to help the City be more proactive with greenway connections,” said Chad Weth, Public Service Director. “Plus, we’ve now got an entire crew that’s familiar with the trail system and can respond to emergency maintenance issues, with the right tools to help them get the job done quickly.”

Vestal Community Organization members, largely responsible for the recent creation of Vestal Gateway Park, attended Monday’s ribbon-cutting.

The new park features a large gateway arch that frames the trailhead, a pavilion, benches and a wildflower field. All of the park’s amenities, including the arch, estimated in value of $30,000, were funded through community grants, matched by the neighborhood group.

Some of those grants came from the City, including a Parks and Recreation Challenge Grant and a Neighborhoods Small Grant from the Office of Neighborhoods. There was also a “Creative Placemaking Grant,” awarded through the Tennessee Arts Commission, which funded a portion of the park project.

Gene Burr and Mallia Engineering designed the arch.

Partners that worked with the Vestal Community Organization on this park project included the City of Knoxville, the Aslan Foundation, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Knox County Health Department, Great Schools Partnership, the East Tennessee Community Design Center, and Knoxville’s Community Development Corp. 

For more information on Mary Vestal Greenway, Vestal Gateway Park, or the City’s parks and greenways system, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/recreation