KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Fort Kid announced sad news on its Facebook page: The playground is set to be completely demolished.
Fort Kid / Source: (WVLT)
Demolition is set for April 13. However, park supporters say they are hoping to change the decision.
"The City’s planned demolition has been driven by a small number of public officials and private interests, without public input or community meetings. The City uses the term “renovation,” but the only definite plans or funding are for demolition of Fort Kid and the retaining wall facing the museum. If a replacement playground is eventually built, it will be on a much smaller area, missing the shade of existing trees and will be constructed of “store-bought” artificial materials. It will not be Fort Kid as currently known and loved," the park said on Facebook.
Officials say they plan to meet with Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon to discuss the plan and hopefully find a way to save the park.
In the meantime, a 29th birthday celebration is scheduled for April 4 from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. at Fort Kid.
"Fort Kid has been a Knoxville landmark since it was built in 1991. The volunteer construction effort was the biggest in our city’s history, as some 2,500 people built the 12,000-square-foot playground in five days. Situated adjacent to the Knoxville Museum of Art and World’s Fair Park and bordering the Fort Sanders neighborhood, Fort Kid is a popular spot for families. The Fort Kid committee fought Fort Kid’s destruction in 2014, using substantial funds and organizing 175 volunteers to make repairs and add new equipment."
Issued with the playground's structural integrity caused it to close for several months of repair work in 2019.
And a local businessman donated $200,000 to be used in upgrading the park.
Officials say they will post the latest updates on the playground's future the Facebook page here.
A public meeting will be held on Thursday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The meeting will serve as a way to update residents on the future of the park and get feedback about their memories of the site. At the meeting, residents are also encouraged to dicuss what they would like to see in a future Fort Kid.
Fort Kid is scheduled to close March 23. The City of Knoxville will continue to seek public input before a final design is in place.
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