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UT hosts Tennessee RiverLine summit

The Tennessee RiverLine project aims to create 652-miles of continuous paddling, hiking and biking opportunities from Knoxville, Tenn. to Paducah, Ky.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In 2016, a University of Tennessee student had a vision to transform the Tennessee riverfront. Now, that vision is starting to become a reality.

Representatives from the University of Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee State Parks, the National Park Service and other organizations gathered in Knoxville to discuss the next steps.

"They're thinking about the Tennessee River and their natural resources more broadly as a part of their economic future," Tennessee RiverLine director Brad Collett told 10News. "So, thinking about the opportunity for economic development through tourism, but also economic development through enhanced quality of life for the residents that will attract new businesses as well."

RELATED: TN RiverLine Pilot Project takes public input in Roane County

RELATED: Appalachian Trail for the river | Roane County to be part of TN Riverline project

In 2019, five pilot communities were selected to start implementing aspects of the Tennessee RiverLine project. That includes Roane County, Tenn. just west of Knoxville.

"[Roane County] is engaged in the planning process and they have resources already allocated for this next fiscal year to begin implementing parts of their vision," Collett said. "We'll continue to be a resource to them providing creative ideas and helping them understand how they can connect into into the broader regional picture." 

Seventeen communities originally applied for the pilot program. The University of Tennessee said more communities will have a change to become engaged this spring.