You’ve probably noticed the recent facelift to the entrance of Powell Middle School and the Powell Soccer fields. Do you know how it got there?
It actually started with a skate park. The county had decided it needed a newer, more visible location for the skate park. The key criteria was visibility from the road to reduce seclusion that leads to vandalism. The Powell Business and Professional Association identified a large flat area between Emory Rd and the soccer fields at Powell Middle. The idea was floated in the Powell Shopper and met with heavy resistance from Powell soccer coach, Mark Smith. Resistance isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, in this case it was a great thing. Mark had a vision for what the Powell Soccer Complex could look like and it didn’t have a skate park in it.
Enhance Powell co-chairs Sandra Clark and Justin Bailey met with Coach Smith and realized his idea was a much better one. Coach Smith envisioned brick columns and wrought iron fencing to connect with the black chain link that was coming no matter what. No one wanted the 6ft chain link at the front of the school. It would have looked like a prison. Sandra had an idea! “If you’ll give us a 75ft setback from the road for a linear park with trees and picnic tables we’ll let go of the skate park idea”, said Sandra.
Knox County Schools stepped up. Interim Superintendent, Buzz Thomas, said he would find the funds to give the fencing at the road the new look if the Middle School was agreeable to the setback for the linear park. This was a win for everybody. Especially the Powell community! The new fencing looks fantastic. Thress Nursery has agreed to donate the trees, shrubbery, and installation for the linear park.
It’s amazing what can happen in a community when people listen to each other. When people don’t hold things so tightly. And when people are willing to compromise. This time is worked out better for everyone.
We are still on the lookout for a better, more visible location for the Skate Park… Stay tuned.