On Saturday, Sept. 14, landscape architect Brad Collett, RiverLine Partnership director and UT associate professor, brought a class of advanced UT students to Benton County. Local members of the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership rolled out to provide a whirlwind tour of some of the county’s most promising sites.
The first of five counties to participate in the 2019 Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community Program, Benton County initially hosted Collett and other RiverLine staff on July 10 for the official kick-off of the partnership. Three well-attended events in two days resulted in good collaboration among participants.
The Pilot Community Program is a critical step in engaging all Tennessee River communities in the development of the Tennessee RiverLine. The partnership seeks to identify existing assets and initiatives that promote public access to the river, and align the local vision of river development and utilization with that of the larger RiverLine project.
Saturday’s activities focused on providing students with an overview of projects and resources Benton County may pursue or utilize in bringing our RiverLine vision to life, such as developing greenway spaces along retired railroad beds adjacent to the river, conducting extensive clean up efforts, preserving historical sites, or collaborating with TVA, TN state parks, TWRA, TDOT, and the Dept. of the Interior on shoreline development.
“The Tennessee River is the heartbeat of our community,” said County Mayor Brett Lashlee. “Our participation in the RiverLine partnership, and the design contributions that can come from students like you, is a great opportunity for us to come together and work as a community to access the river and develop its use in a more modern way.”
During the day, the group visited Eva Beach, Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, Pilot Knob, sites in Big Sandy, and the Benton-Houston County Ferry. To keep track of upcoming RiverLine events, see www.tnriverline.org/events or follow the Tennessee RiverLine Facebook page.