Cradle of Country Music park design meeting planned

Welp, that park’s history just got killed off.

Downtown Knoxville’s Cradle of Country Music park is going through some changes. For one, the city appears to no longer be acknowledging that the park was dedicated to memorializing country music. From a release:

What: Public meeting / design charrette on redevelopment of City park at Summit Hill Drive and Gay Street

When: 2-6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21

Where: Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay St.

Who: The City of Knoxville’s Public Arts Committee and East Tennessee Community Design Center will conduct the meeting, with input from local artists, architects, landscape architects and citizens …

For one thing, the old treble clef that KNS donated a while back is gone. Rumor is, it got kind of busted up. That was before my time here, though.

And the park? Well, it’s apparently a generic pice of land that’s now called “City park at Summit Hill Drive and Gay Street,” which was a central point on city’s country music walking tour. You know, those kinda faded signs around downtown with country players on them? To be fair, we did do a story on the park a while back:

Jody Freeman won’t specify the deeds she watched vagrants doing 12 years ago on the benches of Knoxville’s Cradle of Country Music Park .

It was an ugly scene, she said.

“We first moved here, we saw things happening in public that shouldn’t happen there,” said Freeman, president of FMB Advertising at 145 S. Gay St., and secretary of the 100 Block Association.

But after she moved in across from the park , Freeman said she and other tenants on the 100 block of Gay Street took “ownership” of the neighborhood.

Things improved and cleaned up, she said, and in the late 2000s, Knoxville spent millions of dollars on bridge work and sidewalk repair there.

In what seems to be a capstone for the revived block, Mayor Madeline Rogero proposed $150,000 for the countrymusicpark in her 2013-14 budget proposal. The spending is part of $850,000 proposed for various projects in and near downtownKnoxville .

… this is in the footnotes department, but there are a couple of things in the release that are a little hinky. 1) The term “charrette.” I’ve never understood the use of this word instead of “meeting,” “brainstorming,” or “design workshop.” 2) This quote: “literally everyone is invited to the design charrette on Aug. 21.” Literally everyone? Better pick a bigger venue.

Knoxville Urban guy writes on the park’s history here. About the park as a stop on the walking tour:

It was Number nine, entitled, “The Knoxville Music Monument to the Performers of East Tennessee.” Of course, now, there is not even a stub of a monument. I first wrote about the walking tour – which I loved when I first took it many years ago – in August of 2010. Follow the link if you want to know more about it.

But that is gone, and we now have this massive sculpture by Albert Paley whether it fits its environment or not.

/steps off the soapbox


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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