With the addition of a new parking area underway, Knox County’s first demonstration stormwater park will open in the fall. Harrell Road Stormwater Park is located off Harrell and West Emory between Karns and Powell. The 19 acres that make up the park was donated to Legacy Parks Foundation in 2008, and the group’s Land Conservation Committee decided to turn it into a neighborhood park.
Over the years, the land has been transformed from an exposed clay soil mining area to a beautiful passive public park that can be used by both professionals to teach about stormwater management practices and by the public for recreation and enjoyment of our region’s fauna and flora. It contains two constructed stormwater wetland ponds that divert neighborhood runoff, a rain garden that treats stormwater runoff, established native vegetation, a three-quarter mile walking trail, and a kayak/canoe launch connected to the Knox County Blueways.
Roy Arthur, a member of Legacy Parks’ Land Conservation Committee, took the lead with this project, putting in countless volunteer hours and coordination efforts. Taking on the project was a natural fit, as Roy is also the Watershed Coordinator for Knox County Stormwater Management and a Research Associate at Tennessee Water Resources Research Center at the University of Tennessee. Roy put together public/private partnerships, coordinated federal and local employees and volunteers of all ages, and acquired almost half of the park’s cost in donations in addition to many other tasks.