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Weekend edition April 14, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Major upgrades coming to Knoxville’s Fort Dickerson Quarry

Similar to Mead's Quarry in Ijams, this other South Knoxville swimming hole will soon have swimming platforms, restrooms, and other amenities.

Move over Mead’s Quarry, there’s a new quarry in town.

Just kidding it’s not new. But its amenities will be.

Augusta Quarry, better known as Fort Dickerson Quarry, is about to get some major upgrades thanks to a private-public investment.

Last month, work began to install electric, water, and sanitary sewer utilities to support planned amenities coming soon to Augusta Quarry at Fort Dickerson Park.

During construction, some areas of the park will not be accessible, including the quarry lake. The quarry closure is a short-term inconvenience to swimmers and visitors, but it’s necessary for significant long-term gains.

By late spring or early summer 2024, Augusta Quarry will boast many new amenities, including:

  • New restrooms, changing rooms, and a vendor pavilion
  • An expanded overlook on the western side of the quarry
  • New floating beach and swim platforms – several attached to the western and southern sides of the quarry, and another circular floating dock that’s offshore
  • An improved, more accessible walkway and partially terraced gathering spaces connecting the Augusta Quarry parking lot and the water’s edge

“These upgrades, a public-private collaboration, will make Augusta Quarry more family-friendly and accessible to more people,” said Wes Soward, the City of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness Coordinator. “This will provide easier, safer access to the water, and the improved access will reflect the natural beauty of the quarry.”

Combined with initial Phase 1 improvements to the Augusta Quarry entrance and parking area, these upgrades reflect a total city investment of more than $5 million.

The improvements at Fort Dickerson have been made possible through a partnership with The Aslan Foundation. A collaboration of consultants created a one-of-a-kind design, honoring the unique historical and natural character of this Urban Wilderness gem: Sanders Pace Architecture, Port Urbanism, JMT Engineering, and Haines Structural Group.

Look for utility work to be completed by late summer 2023, with construction and installation of the restrooms, floating docks, and more to be completed by summer 2024.

Down the road, the city’s next investment in Fort Dickerson Park will focus on improving the overlook on the east side and protecting and enhancing access to the historic Civil War earthworks.

In the meantime, while the quarry side of the park is closed, visitors can still enjoy the picnic areas and 3.5 miles of trails on the eastern side.

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