December 15, 2006 - Volunteers with
the South Haven Neighborhood Association will be working in a streambed
Friday and Saturday to create a "rain garden" aimed at
improving Mary James Park in partnership with the Tennessee Izaak
Walton League and the Fort Loudon Lake Association.
The three-acre city park is located at 1825 McClung Avenue in the
heart of a South Knoxville neighborhood.
The stream that runs through the park - a tributary of Baker Creek
that empties into Fort Loudon Lake - has been included on the state's
list of impaired streams.
The collaboration of neighborhood volunteers and non-profit organizations
devoted to improving water quality are working Friday from 12:30-
2 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon to help clean it
Volunteers are welcome.
It's part of an ongoing effort on several different fronts to improve
"The park is in the center of our neighborhood and we've been
working with the city and others to improve it over the last couple
of years," said Linda Rust, president of the South Haven Neighborhood
Association. "We want it to be better utilized by everyone
in the neighborhood."
"It's like a little gem in our neighborhood," she said,
"and it just needs to be shined up."
As part of this project boulders were previously placed in the streambed
to slow the speed of storm water and the volunteers will be planting
various native species of plants along the banks to create a "rain
garden" so the stream's banks can better absorb the water.
The combination of the boulders and the new vegetation should help
pool the water and slow it down as it travels through the park.
These steps may help reduce stream bank erosion and the amount of
sediment reaching the lake. The overall stormwater quality should
The project was designed and is being managed by the Fort Loudoun
Funding for the work is being provided by a Baker Creek Restoration
Grant, which the Izaak Walton League and the Fort Loudon Lake Association
received from the state of Tennessee and the U.S. Environmental
The City of Knoxville is also helping finance the effort through
a "challenge grant" to the South Haven Neighborhood Association.
The Mary James Park, a finalist for this year's "Orchid Award"
from Keep Knoxville Beautiful, has seen a number of improvements
The City of Knoxville, using almost $50,000 in Community Block
Grant Development funds, purchased and installed new playground
equipment in the park. It celebrated those improvements in an August
The South Knoxville Beautification Group also assisted with a creek
cleanup in July and the South Haven group is working to get a greenway
extension through the park.
Rust said the South Haven Neighborhood Association is grateful
to the city for its continued commitment to improving the park.
Joe Walsh, deputy director of Knoxville's Parks and Recreation
Department, said that the city has enjoyed working with the association
and the partnership has made for an improved park.
"They've been very active and very involved," he said.
"They are a great resource and the end result is that the Mary
James Park is better than it ever has been. We appreciate their
willingness to work with us."