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Knoxville celebrates launch of Tennessee RiverTowns program

The Tennessee RiverTowns program kicked off Friday. The initiative is working to enhance paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville is one of 15 communities celebrating the launch of the new Tennessee RiverTowns program that is working to enhance recreation along the Tennessee River.

Mayor Indya Kincannon and others attended the inaugural launch Friday afternoon at Suttree Landing Park. 

The initiative hopes to build upon Knoxville's abundant outdoor recreation with better paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the river with the goal of creating a new regional trail system. 

Kincannon said the development will also benefit tourism.

"I'm a big believer if you make things nice for the people who live here, then it'll also be nice for the visitors. I want this river to be seen as an asset and something fun and healthy with great opportunities for the people of this community, and this is a great step in that direction," she said.

The School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design started working on the idea more than four years ago. In 2019, it set up its first pilot program at five locations, including Roane County. The program includes efforts to create more access points from the water into communities from Knoxville to Paducah, Kentucky.