New Pigeon Forge park opens to fanfare, fireworks

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 02:10 PM

Residents got their first official look Friday at Wear Farm City Park, as the city formally opened the facilities that are replacing the park behind the Community Center.

The 118-acre facility already has a football field, a set of baseball/softball fields, playground and walkway. Whereas the old city park was running out of space, the new one has some room to grow. It’s located on Wears Valley Road, not far from the old park.

Brand and Anthony Parrott were among those checking it out because their son, Bailey, will be among the first to get to play there. He’s on a baseball team for 11- and 12-year-olds and will be going to his first practice at the ball field on Saturday.

Asked by a reporter what he thought of it, Bailey played it cool, nodding his head as he ate some of the snacks provided for the vent. “It’s pretty good.”

“We had to come down and check it out,” said his mom, Brenda Parrott.

Bruce Wilson, another of the people who came down for the event, said he was impressed with what he saw.

“It looks great, all of the ball fields look great. It was a good turnout. All the people showed they really support it.”

A member of the Pigeon Forge Rotary, he said he was proud of announcement earlier during the ceremonies that his organization is putting $100,000 toward another planned playground for the facility — one officials said would have more opportunities for children with disabilities.

The facilities that opened Friday represent the first phase of the park, which will eventually expand over Waldens Creek and could include more walking or biking trails to take advantage of the hills rising on the other side. “I think it’ll be unique,” said Mayor David Wear as he waited in line for the hot dogs and other snacks.

Officials spoke about the work that had gone into building the park, but also credited the Forever Parks Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization formed to raise funds to help build and maintain it. Keith Whaley, president of the group’s board of trustees, announced the plans for the new playground during the opening ceremony.

City Manager Earlene Teaster said they wanted a park that many new generations would be able to enjoy.

“This is a tremendous asset for Pigeon Forge,” she said. ‘We’re executed about what it’s going to do for our kids in the community.”

They also credited the Wear family, who sold the old farm used for the park.

“It means so much for us that so many generations of this community will be able to come here and enjoy this property and make memories for their families the same way our family did or so many years,” Charlotte Wear said.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com