Trailhead will be N’shore new path

Northshore Drive is one step closer to providing long-distance pedestrian safety with last week’s ribbon cutting at Callaway Ridge Trailhead.

It marked completion of the first of four phases of the Northshore Safety, Wellness and Connectivity Project — a joint project between Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs — which took place just north of the Concord Road roundabout Tuesday, May 11.

Once completed, the project will connect walking trails from that roundabout westward to the one at the intersection of Northshore and Choto Road.

Jay, who is one of two At-Large Commissioners and is current KCC chair, was joined by Jacobs, Farragut Mayor Ron Williams, fellow 5th District County Commissioner and vice chair John Schoonmaker, 9th District County Commissioner Carson Daily and Register of Deeds Nick McBride among many in attendance.

The Trailhead, accessed via a paved roadway just off Northshore and marked with a road sign, was named for the Callaway family who formerly owned the land. It offers ample parking for both walkers and bikers, leads to an array of bike trails behind it, and will lead to a walking trail in the project’s second phase.

While the Knox County Engineering and Public Works departments are constructing the project, which currently includes grading, paving, lighting and signage, both the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club ande Legacy Parks Foundation have been instrumental in helping with planning and oversight, Jay said, and representatives from those organizations also attended the ceremony.

The event also provided an opportunity for Jay to share the overall master plan and what the next phases will include going forward. Phase 2 will cut a trail from the Trailhead into a West pocket of Concord Park, and Phase 3 calls for constructing a boardwalk underneath two concrete bridges, allowing pedestrians “never having to go across Northshore,” Jay added.

Phase 4 will connect from The Cove at Concord Park to the Choto roundabout.

Cost of the first two phases was around $100,000, Jay said, and funding was secured last year. He said the last two phases will cost an estimated $1.5 million, but have yet to be funded.

Jay first proposed the project about two years ago, based on his own observations of a young family trying to cross Northshore Drive to access The Cove.

“Crossing that road is like playing (the video game) ’Frogger,’” Jay said. “We just needed to figure out how to access these wonderful parks without the risk of dying beside the road.”

Once completed, the project will serve 371 businesses, 11,351 residents and 5,240 homes within 1.5 miles, a press release from Jacobs’ office stated. The project will be maintained by Knox County Parks and Recreation Department.