On Saturday afternoon, volunteers with the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation, formerly known as the Sharps Ridge Veteran Memorial Cleanup Committee, continued cleanup efforts on the Sharps Ridge Veteran Memorial Park.
The cleanup is part of a project that has been approved by the city to revamp the park and clear out the view it offers overlooking Knoxville. Parts of the project that have already gained approval include a memorial wall and a court of flags.
Now, organizers have a bigger project in mind. Jessica King, the project manager for the park cleanup, hopes to take the new project to the city next week which includes a massive monument that could put Knoxville and its veterans in a major spotlight.
"We're looking to put a monument on Sharps Ridge that you'll be able to see from all over the city," she said. "When people are passing through, they'll be able to see it and know that Knoxville is a patriotic city that honors its veterans."
The monument would be visible from downtown Knoxville as well as on roads throughout the city such as Hall of Fame Blvd.
“We’re going to call it Mount Volunteer and it’s going to be a Mount Rushmore style monument and it will have Tennessee war heroes on it," she said.
King estimates the project will cost between $10-15 million with Mount Volunteer costing somewhere between $7-10 million.
"We already have some commitments from local businesses and philanthropic organizations to help," she said.
As a nine-year veteran of the Marine Corps, King looks forward to the positive impacts the project could have on the local community in reminding residents and tourists of the state's long-standing patriotic values.
"This is a veterans park and the community should never forget that again because we won't allow it," she said. “We’re the volunteer state because we step up when there’s conflict and we voluntarily bring our troops and our families into the fight and help win the cause.”
The organization also has a 5k run fundraiser planned on the 5th of November, you can find more info about that on their website.