Group aims to clean up Sharp's Ridge

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - City leaders are looking to clean up a local park, and believe it or not, a bike club just might do the trick.

Sharp's Ridge Memorial Park in North Knoxville a site surrounded by the beauty of nature, but without may people enjoying it, the park has become known as a space defined by crime.

"If parks are vacant and no one goes there, that's where people who don't want to be seen go," Carol Evans of Legacy Parks Foundation said.

One well known case involved Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby, who was arrested in May 2012 for having sex with another man in public, and he's not the only one.

It's events like that one that have some people wanting to clean up Sharp's Ridge in hopes of drawing a more law-abiding crowd.

"The more users you have in the park, the safer it becomes," Evans said.

That's why the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club is hoping to change the park's reputation and community perception.

"It's one of the highest points, I think it's the second highest point in Knox County," club member Luke Grieve said. "So it's drains really well. So as far as trails holding water staying muddy, these really don't."

That's just one trait that makes Sharp's Ridge perfect for mountain biking. By this spring, the club hopes to have three miles of hiking and biking trails built, and the community using them.

"It's you and the bike and the trail," Grieve said. "It's an adventure. You're not thinking about work, or anything that would bother you. It's just a matter of having some fun outside."

That's just what this group wants to do. Bring back the fun to a park known for scandal.

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