Pigeon Forge park to get new fence

Will discourage shortcuts, but won't help with noise
Jul. 24, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

The City Commission voted to put in a chain link fence along a portion of the new Wears Farm City Park so that visitors will be deterred from taking a shortcut through neighboring yards. But some residents from nearby houses aren’t satisfied with the city’s solutions.

The commission voted unanimously Monday to spend $2,100 on the fence, which will run behind the homes.

“It picks up where the existing farm fence ends and runs down the creek into the wetlands,” Parks and Recreation Director John Wilbanks said. Alongside the nearby neighborhood, most of the rest of the parkland is either wetlands that people aren’t likely to cross on foot, or it is already fenced in by the old fence from the farm.

Neighbors from High Valley Drive, which runs along the park, have complained about people coming through their yards while walking to the park, along with the noise from the ballfields and balls coming into their yards.

Wilbanks acknowledged the fence won’t address noise issues for neighbors, but officials hope that trees planted along the outside of the park will address it in a few years.

“In about three or four years, there’s going to be a massive green screen (buffering the park),” he said.

That didn’t satisfy some neighbors who came to the meeting.

Jim Mason and Michelle Thomas said the fence should help with the foot traffic, but it won’t resolve the noise or the baseballs landing in their yard from the ball fields.

“That’s what I woke up to Saturday was baseball,” Mason said.

“They said they would address (the noise), but that’s years away,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the fencing would help eliminate walking through her yard without permission to reach the park, but she was worried some might still walk through and try to hop the fence rather than walk around it.

Both Mason and Thomas said they have been finding baseballs from the park since youth baseball teams started using it; Thomas said she was worried balls might strike her children as they playing in the backyard.

Also during the meeting, the commission voted to give $9,000 to the Pigeon Forge Youth Football Program.

Wilbanks said the item wasn’t included in the current budget, and the funding will be reassessed after this year. It’s intended to replace money the youth football program will lose when it begins playing games at the new park. The city will be in charge of the concession stand for all events at the park, including football games.

The youth football league will still be responsible for hiring coaches and referees.

Mayor David Wear noted the change gives more parents a chance to enjoy the games.

“I bet they will enjoy getting to watch the games instead of working concessions,” he said.

The league will still need to raise money to cover other expenses, he said.

In other action, the commission:

  • Approved appropriations from 2012-13
  • Purchased a masking curtain for the LeConte Center
  • Approved acquisition of a new K-9
  • Purchased five new interceptors and 13 body cameras for the police department