Editorial: Pigeon Forge's new Wear Farm City Park another great amenity for the town

Mar. 20, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

It's been a rough week for Pigeon Forge, with a massive fire that began Sunday destroying more than 165 acres and dozens of cabins in the hills outside the city. But come Friday, the city will do some much-deserved celebrating. The first phase of Pigeon Forge’s 118-acre Wear Farm City Park will open, with activities that include food, a ribbon cutting and even fireworks.

The celebration will be from 4:30-7:30 p.m. The park is a half-mile off the Parkway at 623 Wears Valley Road. This represents the first phase of a major relocation of the city's park, formerly located behind the Community Center. Make plans to attend. Guests will receive T-shirts and commemorative gifts, and snacks will be served.

This new park will far exceed the old park in amenities, space and variety of attractions. It will be home to tournaments that bring visitors to town, and it will be a source of amusement and entertainment for locals and guests alike.

The park’s first phase includes 40 acres with five lighted softball/baseball fields, a lighted football field, a playground, two shelters, a basketball court, two concession stand/restroom buildings and walking trails.

“Wear Farm City Park is an extraordinary addition to the life of Pigeon Forge, both for residents and visitors,” said John Wilbanks, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. Indeed it is.

While some may have been disappointed the city didn't simply renovate and expand the existing City Park behind the Community Center, they simply didn't have the space. Expansion of the water and sewer treatment plant also was needed. The old park was hemmed in, with no room for growth and expansion. Not so at the new park.

“We’re going to be busy. The park already has booked softball and baseball tournaments for most weekends through July, which will bring overnight visitors to town, and I think residents will quickly add the park’s walking trails to their list of accessible exercise locations,” Wilbanks said.

Opening festivities will feature comments by Mayor David Wear, City Manager Earlene Teaster, state Sen. Doug Overbey and state Rep. Dale Carr. A ribbon-cutting ceremony follows at the baseball complex, which will lead to a fireworks display. In keeping with the sports theme, a variety of old-timey games will be available. They include sack races, pin the tail on the donkey, corncob darts and corn hole.

Wear Farm City Park is a great addition to as city that is really on the move. With the convention center due to open in September, plans for the Cal Ripkin complex ongoing, the continued popularity of Dollywood and, yes, the addition of liquor by the drink as an added option for visitors, the city has lots to look forward to.