City of Knoxville not chasing waterfalls for South Knoxville site

Knox Falls (Ross Bagwell)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Images of a tourist attraction that resembles Niagara Falls in South Knoxville have been circulating the internet.

The proposal by Ross Bagwell is for a computerized waterfall that extends from the Henley Street Bridge to the Gay Street Bridge, complete with a viewing area with synchronized music. According to Bagwell, the attraction would take a series of water pumps to pump water from Fort Loudoun Lake to the top of the falls.

“We need a strong motivation, a place or thing that would draw people to Knoxville,” said Bagwell in a statement. “Pigeon Forge and the Gatlinburg area draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each day from all across the U.S. and Canada.  Why should Knoxville not have a large portion of these visitors make it a point to visit Knoxville?  It would add millions of dollars to the local economy.”

Bagwell said he thinks the city of Knoxville should form a group of architects, engineers, businessmen and government officials to create the “Knox Falls” attraction. He wants to use the hotel/tourist tax to make Knoxville a “must see” city in the United States.

“Think of all the reasons you would want to visit Knoxville,” said Bagwell. “UT, Blount Mansion, McClung Museum, Knoxville Zoo, beautiful churches, but but these locations are not much of a motivation to visit Knoxville, this great little town in the heart of East Tennessee.”

Jesse Mayshark with the city of Knoxville said nobody has suggested or proposed any kind of waterfall to the city. He said the conceptual drawing he’s seen appears to be at the Old Baptist Hospital site, which is on private property and in the midst of a large redevelopment project.

“There is no indication anyone has discussed this idea with the property owners,” said Mayshark. “Also, any proposal involving taking water out or putting water into the Tennessee River would require significant regulatory involvement and approval from the Tennessee Valley Authority.”

Continuing coverage: South Knoxville Waterfront project

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