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Harrell Road Stormwater Park

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A Legacy Park Treasure
In 2009 Legacy Parks Foundation was given an abandoned tract of land by a local developer. The property, located at 7221 Harrell Road in northeast Knox County, was a remnant from previous development and consisted of floodplain along Beaver Creek that had been used for soil mining and a barrow pit. It was mostly exposed clay and scrub growth and was considered unbuildable. Forming a partnership with Knox County Stormwater Management and Knox County Parks and Recreation, Legacy Parks received a $5,000 grant for a concept plan by the East Tennessee Community Design Center. After several public meetings the concept plan was approved and work began on the county’s first stormwater management park.

Located in the Karns' community, Harrell Road Stormwater Park is a model for stormwater management practices such as rain gardens, wetland ponds, and riparian buffers. The Harrell Road Park project converted a derelict tract of land into a sustainable, passive public park incorporating best practices in stormwater management and providing a classic example of green infrastructure techniques. The park consists of both naturally occurring and manmade wetlands, lowlands, and ridges.

The 11-acre park also featured almost 4,000 feet of gravel pathways, 100 trees and interpretive signs along the paths that explain the various green practices in the park.

Knox County’s Harrell Road Park was recently awarded the 2018 Environmental-Conservation Award by the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, a non-profit organization that recognizes and honors parks throughout the nation. The first-place “award of excellence” is presented to parks that recognize an “exceptional effort to acquire, restore, preserve, operate, or develop unique or significant conservation and natural areas or programs.” Bordered by Beaver Creek and a large residential development, Harrell Road Park takes in stormwater pollutants entering the creek, increases stormwater infiltration, replenishes groundwater stores and alleviates localized flooding.

Paddling: The kayak/canoe launch connects to the Beaver Creek Water Trail. The Beaver Creek Water Trail is a 6-mile stretch of Beaver Creek, running from Harrell Road Stormwater Demonstration park to the Northwest Sports Complex and is a mix of light rapids and peaceful, placid water. Paddlers will want to drop a car off at the Karns Senior Center to use at the end of the water trail.  Looking for folks to paddle with, check out the Beaver Creek Kayak Club!

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