The City of Kingsport held a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony Thursday afternoon for the first phase of Riverbend Park – the city’s newest park located along the South Fork of the Holston River off Fort Henry Drive.
This first phase includes a floating fishing pier and a half-mile, granite walking trail beginning at Wesley Road and stretching along the banks of the river. King General Contractors performed the work for the city. The cost of phase one was approximately $1.1 million.
Riverbend Park will ultimately be a 22-acre park that stretches from Riverbend Drive to Wesley Road.
“This park has been in the works for quite some time, so we’re excited about its opening,” said Kitty Frazier, parks and recreation manager. “Riverbend is a new park we’re adding to our network, we now have book end parks along the Holston River, and we believe residents will embrace this new park.”
Riverbend Park was once part of a 100-acre farm previously owned by the Bradley Family. Jeff Bradley, who flew to Kingsport this week to celebrate the ribbon cutting and dedication event, said he was happy to see what Kingsport has done with the property.
“Six generations of my family have recreated on that property, for picnics and hikes and it makes me happy to know countless more generations will be able to enjoy the property and the river,” Bradley said. “It’s a wonderful park and a wonderful addition to Kingsport’s parks.”
Riverbend Park is a project that dates to 2015 when First Southeast Development – an Alabama developer who built Riverbend Villas apartments – donated 24 acres along the South Fork of the Holston River to the city. In return, Kingsport built a new road to the property and installed a traffic signal at the intersection with Fort Henry.
Kingsport has designed Riverbend Park to be a multi-phase project that can be developed over a 5 to 10 year period. Conceptual drawings show the park having roughly 2,646 feet of riverbank access with gateway entrances at both ends of the trail.
Drawings also show the park with various play areas, pavilions, restrooms, benches, scenic spots, and interpretive signs spaced at various locations along the river.
For more information on Kingsport’s parks, visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.