The Daily Pulse:

Fort Higley, aka High Ground Park, construction to begin soon

Just announced today, a further development in a subject we've discussed before:

ASLAN FOUNDATION BRIEFS MAYORS
ON HIGH GROUND PARK IN SOUTH KNOXVILLE

Leaders of the Aslan Foundation today briefed Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett on how High Ground Park will preserve an important part of Knoxville's Civil War heritage as well as contribute to the revitalization of South Knoxville.

The Aslan Foundation is scheduled to begin construction on the low-impact park in two weeks, providing parking and trails for visitors at no charge to view the site of historic Fort Higley and experience the natural beauty of South Knoxville's urban forest. The park also represents a key link in the proposed Battle Loop connecting South Knoxville's Civil War forts as part of the proposed 1,000-acre "Urban Wilderness and Historic Corridor."

Aslan Foundation Board President Bob Young briefed the mayors and a select group of city of Knoxville and Knox County staff on plans for the park.

"As mayor of the city and a resident of South Knoxville, I am thrilled about the Aslan Foundation's plans to preserve Fort Higley for generations to come and how High Ground Park will give a boost to South Knoxville and the neighborhood around the park," Rogero said.

Both Mayor Rogero and Mayor Burchett recently have championed the revitalization of South Knoxville, providing funding and shining attention on the community as repairs to the Henley Street Bridge have hampered traffic to neighborhoods and businesses south of the river.

"People from our region will enjoy seeing our Civil War history preserved, and High Ground Park will help attract visitors interested in heritage tourism," Burchett said. "This park will provide another opportunity for families to turn off their TVs, put down their iPads, and head to South Knoxville to not only get outside, but also to support businesses in that community."

Initial plans for High Ground Park include a natural walking trail leading to a woodland meadow and the earthwork remnants of the Civil War era Fort Higley site, including rifle trenches and a redoubt where Union cannons sat ready to defend the high ground south of the Tennessee River. Informative educational signage will be placed along the path.

High Ground Park offers views of the University of Tennessee, downtown Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. In a second phase of the project, the Aslan Foundation eventually plans to construct an overlook area to display the expansive views of Knoxville's downtown and the Tennessee River and to further expand the park's walking trails.

 "This site is a treasure. It would have been a tragedy if this piece of Civil War history was lost," said Young. "We've been able to retain 90 percent of the landscape's unique features and provide free public access to this historical landmark."

High Ground Park is expected to open on November 27, 2013, on the 150th Anniversary of the construction of Fort Higley by Union troops.

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