Downtown Knoxville Alliance gives $250,000 boost to Fort Kid renovation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The renovation to the Fort Kid playground area got a financial boost Wednesday from the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.

The organization is contributing $250,000 for an entryway path to the beloved playground.

Hedstrom Landscape Architecture has developed a concept for the slope and path to connect World’s Fair Park Drive with Fort Kid. The terminus of the sloped path at the top of the hill would be at a newly created accessible entrance to the play structure and a new accessible parking area. 

“The City is very appreciative of the supplemental funding approved by the Downtown Alliance, as well as the slope concept developed by Hedstrom Landscape Architecture,” Knoxville Deputy Chief Operating Officer Chip Barry said. “We look forward to activating the space and creating an accessible path with interactive features.” 

In May and June, the decaying retaining wall made of railroad ties and the 30-year-old timber play structure were removed. The site was regraded to create a flat area at the top of the hill for a new play structure and a more accessible path from the parking lot.

The new grassy slope replaced the retaining wall, creating better connectivity between the playground, parking area and Knoxville Museum of Art. 

Hedstrom’s concept envisions a fort-wall entrance area along World’s Fair Park Drive at the Knoxville Museum of Art, climbing features, and an observation canopy with a vantage point of World’s Fair Park and KMA sculpture gardens.

Later this year, the city will develop and reveal a final design for the slope. 

The city has budgeted $300,000 for the renovation of Fort Kid, and businessman Thomas Boyd has donated $200,000 to the project. The Downtown Alliance’s contribution brings the total project to $750,000. 


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