|City to Plant Trees and Plants on 17th Street
|March 22, 2010 -
Public Service crews will be planting trees and plants on 17th Street Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to make the street more attractive and to get ready for the upcoming Civil War Sesquicentennial.
The street is a major traffic corridor leading motorists into the Fort Sanders neighborhood and the University of Tennessee and also leads into the site of Knoxville’s biggest Civil War conflict, the Battle of Fort Sanders in 1863.
Since 2006, an initiative led by the Terry Faulkner with the Knoxville Tree Board and the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance - and also involving several other public and private organizations - has been planting trees in the area not only to beautify it but also to get ready for an expected increase in Civil War Tourism sparked by the upcoming 150th anniversary of the conflict.
The Civil War began in 1861.
Also participating in the project are the City of Knoxville and City Council, the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance, the Redeemer Church of Knoxville, the Bearden Council, Knoxville Civil War Roundtable and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Knoxville Utilities Board, the Historic Fort Sanders Association.
"This is a project that Terry and the Tree Board put together that’s become a nice multi-agency program to help us get ready for people coming through for the Sesquicentennial," said David Brace, deputy director of the city’s Public Service Department. "We’re involved because it helps beautify the entrance to UT, the Tree Board is the city’s advocate for trees in public spaces and we try to work on projects with non-profit and neighborhood groups."
"So it’s a great combination of three things that we like to do," he added.
A total of 38 trees – 12 Little Gem Magnolias and 26 Crepe Myrtles – will be planted in the green space near where Interstate 40 crosses 17th Street at its north end. The work will probably take place in early afternoon and an exact time will be available Tuesday morning.
The trees are being paid for by TDOT while city crews will plant them and maintain them for the first year. Faulkner had approached TDOT about participating in the project and the agency agreed to help out.
Those trees will join about 40 trees that have already been planted on 17th mostly near its intersections at Laurel and Highland Avenues near where Fort Sanders was located and Union soldiers repulsed attacking Confederates. Dozens more have been planted at other sites across the city.
Faulkner said she started work on the project because it connected her interests in both the beautifying the 17th street Corridor and in the sesquicentennial.
"They were connected and it’s been a very collaborative effort," she said. "Everyone has been wonderful."
In addition to the tree plantings plans are underway for a marker designating the Fort Sanders site as part of Tennessee’s Civil War Trail to be installed at the Redeemer Church of Knoxville located on 17th Street. The state’s Civil War Trails program may commemorate as many as 300 Civil War sites in Tennessee including several in Knoxville area.
"Civil War tourism income is enormous and the State of Tennessee is expecting it to double in the next four years," Faulkner said.
In addition she’s hoping for the development of a walking tour of the battlefield, starting at the Redeemer Church, which would be guided by a several new markers which would be placed in the neighborhood at strategic locations. Faulkner said that recent efforts have resulted in new information about Fort Sanders and it would be reflected in those markers.
"Here’s where the major figures in the battle were, here’s where the attack took place as well as some markers about Fort Sanders, which was the city’s first western suburb…a lot of little information about the fort and the neighborhood has been revealed in our recent research," Faulkner said.
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