The ETCDC was asked to create a vision plan to convert over 40 acres of the former Royal Oaks Golf Course in Maryville, Blount County, into a community park.
The new park site amenities proposed in the vision plan include: pedestrian connections using existing golf cart paths and connecting those paths that remain with a new trail system, developing areas of activity such as playgrounds, dog parks, walking & bike trails, landscaped areas, benches, pavilions with toilets, equipment storage and parking areas.
The Royal Oaks Conservancy and the Royal Oaks Neighborhood Association requested assistance from the ETCDC to create a vision plan to convert over 40 acres of the former Royal Oaks Golf Course in Maryville, Blount County, into a community park. The current owner of Royal Oaks gave written permission allowing the visioning process to move forward. The landowners are allowing … Read MoreRead more
The Royal Oaks Conservancy and the Royal Oaks Neighborhood Association requested assistance from the ETCDC to create a vision plan to convert over 40 acres of the former Royal Oaks Golf Course in Maryville, Blount County, into a community park. The current owner of Royal Oaks gave written permission allowing the visioning process to move forward. The landowners are allowing homeowners to buy land associated with their existing lots and are in talks with developers to purchase large sections of the former golf course for new residential developments. Blount Memorial has purchased a large site near Route 411, but they are reconsidering development opportunities and are discussing options with the Royal Oaks Conservancy.
Leslie Fawaz, ETCDC met with Royal Oaks Representative, Caron Beard. They reviewed the overall site and determined the areas to consider when developing a community park plan. Those areas were highlighted on the overall map and the latest property acquisitions were added to help further inform the vision plan.
In October 2019, Leslie Fawaz and volunteer professional advisor Curtis Catron, LA toured the site with Royal Oaks Conservancy representatives, Matt Jagnow and Caron Beard. Following the tour, a programming meeting was held, which included Maryville City Manager Greg McClain, Joe Huff with Maryville – Alcoa – Blount County Parks and Recreation, and neighborhood representatives. The possible site amenities that were discussed in the programming meeting included: pedestrian connections using existing golf cart paths and connecting those paths that remain with a new trail system, developing areas of activity such as playgrounds, dog parks, walking & bike trails, landscaped areas, benches, pavilions with toilets, equipment storage, and parking areas.
Following the programming meeting, the design team met and developed concepts for a master plan. Trails were studied throughout the parcels that could be included in the community park plan. The design team included existing golf cart paths wherever possible and developed extensions to those paths to create a roughly 2.63-mile trail loop. There was an area that due to the existing terrain could not work for pedestrians and it allowed for a 1/2 mile mountain bike loop. There are large arrows denoted on the plan highlighting the trail system where connections could be made to future greenways that may be developed at the existing power line easements. There is green space between existing homes at Legends Way and Royal Oaks Drive that was difficult to tie into the community park plan. Many residents have purchased sections of the land to expand their lots. The design calls for this area to become a neighborhood pocket park for those residents that back up to the green space.
The design team considered the future maintenance of these immense parcels of land and is proposing that it is a passive park with large sections of meadowland. This would require mowing 2 to 4 times a year. Specialty seed mixes need to be developed that are hardy and achieve the desired aesthetics. There is also potential to develop an arboretum on a portion of the site. An arboretum is an area devoted to specimen plantings of trees and shrubs. Distinct from a forest, nursery, or park, it is in a sense an outdoor museum of trees. It is a place where many varieties of trees are grown for research, educational, and ornamental purposes; where trees and shrubs are cultivated for exhibition.
The existing road widths within Royal Oaks Subdivision are narrower than current standards allow. This led the design team to focus the larger and more concentrated developments to the site that has the potential to be accessible from Route 411, which is currently owned by Blount Memorial.
This area can be accessed by a new road developed behind the existing Walgreens site. The design team developed two concepts: both included a large playground with walking trails and road access. The first concept has a large pavilion 30’ x 50’ which includes toilets, a drinking fountain, and storage. This pavilion can easily be rented out for large events and has 90 parking spaces. The second concept has a one (1) acre dog park with a small pavilion and 20 parking spaces.
There is an existing parking lot, located near the gatehouse on Legends Way that formerly was used by the golf course. This parking lot could be enhanced by delineating 44 parking spaces, adding pedestrian access to the park, and landscaping.
At the intersection of Legends Way and Wallace Hitch Road, there is a corner lot that could be developed to include a smaller neighborhood playground, a 30’ x 15’ pavilion with a toilet, parking for seven (7) vehicles, and greenway trails for pedestrians and bicycles. The circular path proposed near the play area could be very functional for younger children learning to ride bikes.
The other focus area highlighted on the plan is at Indian Wells Drive at the north corner of the site. The concept plan develops a dog park, parking for 20 vehicles, and a 20’ x 40’ pavilion with toilets and a drinking fountain. There will also be trails connecting to the newer subdivision that has been developed to the north of Royal Oaks.Read less