By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

Many people remember playing at the 30-year-old Fort Kid in Knoxville that was torn down last year due to safety concerns. Last week the city council approved a new version of the community playground with a lot of differences.

The city may match the combined contributions of Thomas Boyd and the Downtown Knoxville Alliance up to $450,000 and selected Great Southern Recreation for the project. Hedstrom Landscape Architecture will develop a slope and path from World’s Fair Park to the facility.

The new Fort Kid will be located between 11th Street and the World’s Fair Park. The new main play facility is going to be “one of a kind” designed specifically for Knoxville. About 400 people who wanted a playground for their children and grandchildren responded to a survey in March 2020 with ideas.

Among the features will be a climbing wall, accessible entries, a slide, a mixture of natural elements, child’s hiding places and things to explore and discover. Balance and agility features will be included along with bridges for connectivity.

Demolition and groundwork is underway and construction is to start late summer with the new Fort Kid scheduled to open by the end of the year.

The original Fort Kid was built by volunteers during the city’s 1991 Bicentennial Celebration. You can get more information and illustrations at