Lakes, Beaches and Water Fun
Scenic Drives and Rides
Shopping & Antiquing
Spas & Well Being
Heritage, History, & Culture
Arts & Entertainment
Markets & Fairs
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• First Creek: Treaty of the Holston
• Gay Street Bridge: Divided Loyalties
• Volunteer Landing: Main Pavilion
• Secret History Walk
• Spy Glasses
In 1988, a 50-member Waterfront Task Force was established to study and develop recommendations for the protection, enhancement, and development of the seven-mile stretch of the Tennessee River between the Forks of the River and the J.E. "Buck" Karnes Bridge. A final report of the Waterfront Task Force outlined the following recommendations:
• Establish a waterfront "Greenway" system to include landscaping and screening, regulations for implementation, maintenance policies and a clean-up campaign.
• Redevelop Neyland Drive as a "Parkway" to include bicycle trails, landscaping, lighting of the Henley and Gay Street Bridges, historical markers and presentations and improvements to Bicentennial Park.
• Establish water quality programs to monitor and determine pollution sources and correct the problems.
• Encourage economic development through the development of the north and south river banks adjacent to downtown.
• Enhance and expand leisure and recreational use of the river.
• Establish an entity, or agency, to oversee future waterfront development and activity.
Born from these goals, Volunteer Landing was a three phase project encompassing public and private developments of cultural and recreational amenities as well as commercial retail and residential developments. In its entirety, the $42 million mixed-use Volunteer Landing project began at Second Creek on the edge of The University of Tennessee campus and followed the north bank of the Tennessee River to an area several hundred feet east of First Creek.
Phase One of Volunteer Landing, which broke ground in the fall of 1995, consisted primarily of public park improvements. A main element of the public park is a boardwalk between First and Second Creeks linking the U.T. campus, Knoxville's Central Business District, Blount Mansion and James White Fort.
Amenities along the boardwalk include the expansion of existing boat slips near Second Creek; fishing piers and gazebos interspersed along the length of the boardwalk; a central pavilion and plaza with stairs and elevator access connecting a new pedestrian bridge over Neyland Drive; concessions and rest room facilities; and two new parks. Of these parks, River/Mountain Park, located just west of the Central Pavilion celebrates the heritage of the region's river and mountain geography through native plantings, landscaping, and water features. The second park is located at the mouth of First Creek and contains exhibits designed to tell the story of the founding of the City as its actual birthplace. The region's history and culture is also explored throughout Volunteer Landing by interpretive elements, public art, and "spy glasses" interspersed along the entire length of the boardwalk.
Phase Two of Volunteer Landing consisted of 150-200 condominium and upscale apartment units located off new Hill Avenue. This project, 100 percent privately financed, began in December 1995. The first 16 condominium units were ready for occupancy by Summer 1996.
Phase Three of Volunteer Landing, known as Gateway Village, corresponded with the construction of the new South Knoxville Connector. This phase began late 1996. The village is a mixed-use public/private project terraced along the hillside of the east bank of first Creek to the top of the hill adjacent to James White Fort. In this phase, landscape elements play a key role. The landscaping of Gateway Village at Volunteer Landing consists of dramatic cascading water features and lush botanical gardens which represent the diverse botanical richness of the region. Public developments of the Gateway Village project include "Tennessee River" and "Gateway" pavilions which are located at the base and middle of the hill site and each provide cultural exhibits. An introductory information center for James White Fort is at the uppermost portion of the site. Also, river linkage to Ijams Nature Center across the Tennessee River from Gateway Village is provided by host access serviced from the Tennessee River Pavilion located at the river's edge.
Developments of Gateway Village which were 100 percent privately funded include a marina adjacent to the Tennessee River Pavilion, a cluster of commercial retail shops, two restaurants, and a 60-room all suites inn. All of these elements are interspersed along the village's richly landscaped site.