By Mike Steely

Until a few years ago Sharps Ridge was probably the most overlooked park in the city. It was thought to be a hangout for drug deals, sexual activity, and many local people stayed away from the beautiful overlook.

Then local people and groups started getting involved to transform the property into a recognized and viable park. The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club worked on bike trails, the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society adopted the peak for bird watching, and another group has managed to emphasize the “Veterans Memorial” in the park’s name.

Still one of the most isolated and rural sections of the city Sharps Ridge Veterans Memorial Park is located just off Broadway and the home of several television, radio and cell towers.  Founded in 1953 Sharps Ridge is the only park in the city honoring military veterans and will be very busy Saturday, October 28.

The Veterans Heritage Site Foundation is hosting the 2nd Annual Veterans Heritage Ridge Run and Family Halloween Trail Walk. The foundation, headed by President Marilyn Childress, seeks to preserve and maintain veteran heritage sites in our area including veteran cemeteries, marked and unmarked burial sites, monuments, battlegrounds, forts and outposts, buildings of military importance and veteran parks.

The organization is a 501c3 non-profit charitable fund and 95% of funds raised go to mission purposes. Childress told The Focus she is grateful for the recent $4,500 donation from the Oakwood-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association.

Childress has been out and about promoting the Ridge Run and said that the 2nd annual event is a fundraiser for construction and upkeep of the park. A 5K trail run on the trails will kick off at Lincoln Park Technology Trade School at 535 Chickamauga Park and proceed in a loop along the hiking trails of Sharp’s Ridge. The course is made up of well-marked trails in a wooded and hilly terrain.

Childress, who was a corpsman in the U. S. Navy, is seeking sponsors for the event and information is available at or by calling (865) 765-4494.

Following the race Childress is inviting families to come dressed in Halloween costumes and take a family one-mile walk along the trails with family-friendly tricks and treats along the trail. There will be prizes for best costumes. She notes that the trails are too narrow for strollers.

Information about the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation can also be obtained by writing the group at 3328 Shropshire  Blvd., P.O. Box 873, Powell, Tn. 37849,

She said the events will kick off the area’s Veterans Day season events.