Legacy Parks Foundation cut the ribbon to open the Sharp’s Ridge playspace and adaptive trails today, creating the first all-access trail in our region designed specifically to accommodate users with disabilities. The project was funded by a grant from the Trinity Health Foundation.
The new play area and trails are located on the 42-acres on the north side of Sharp’s Ridge, on land that was donated to the Foundation in 2017 by the Dick family. Features include a new playground, bike skills area and two multi-use trails that connect to the existing city park at the top of the ridge. The playspace was designed by Ross Fowler.
The new trails were purposefully designed to accommodate adaptive mountain bike and adaptive wheelchairs. The Independence Trail begins at the top of the ridge winds to the base where it intersects with the North Ridge Loop Trail. The Independence Trail can accommodate the adaptive mountain bikes is a moderately technical trail for riders with experience who want a challenging ride. The North Ridge loop will accommodate both the adaptive wheelchairs and adaptive mountain bike and is designed for new riders or those who want a flatter, easier path.
Legacy Parks purchased two adaptive mountain bikes and two adaptive wheelchairs through a grant from the Siddiqi Foundation. Catalyst Sports will manage rental of the chairs and bikes through FC Pedaler.
“Having both the properly-designed trails and the equipment were important to making the woods as accessible to everyone as possible,” explained Carol Evans, Legacy Parks’ executive director. “The mountain bikes are suited for the experienced athlete and the wheelchairs can be self-powered or can be pushed like a traditional wheelchair to take a friend or family member who has limited mobility on a walk in the woods when they might not able to do so.”
Legacy Parks was awarded a two-phase grant from the Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee which funded the research, planning and construction of the Playspace. Ross Fowler designed the
playspace. The Knox County Health Department health data will be used to evaluate the impact of the new amenities on improvements in health in the related community. Legacy Parks constructed the Baker Creek Play Forest in 2017 with funding from the Trinity Health Foundation.
The property on which the trails are located will be donated to the city by Legacy Parks to expand the city park to the north side of the ridge.
Legacy Parks Foundation is an East Tennessee nonprofit that works to conserve our natural resources, create public places, and connect communities. The goal is to ensure that the region enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities and natural beauty and that these assets exist for generations to come. To date, Legacy Parks has raised more than $11 million, added 500 plus acres of parkland for Knox County, and helped conserve 1,000 acres of natural space in East Tennessee