Mar 12 2018
11:02 am

City press release...


Organizers of festivals and other public events are invited to a March 22 meeting to learn details of new City safety and security measures.

The public meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Civic Coliseum Ballroom, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave. Attending will be Fire Chief Stan Sharp, Deputy Police Chief Kenny Miller, KPD’s Homeland Security representatives, and Office of Special Events staff.

The new requirements include communications and evacuation plans, to be implemented in the event of emergency situations due to weather or other public safety concerns. The emphasis on more extensive, proactive planning will allow public events to continue to operate smoothly and safely.

"The diverse range of cultural celebrations, music festivals, parades and rallies have contributed to the uniqueness of our city – and these events will continue," Mayor Madeline Rogero said. "However, we are now living in a new era, and added steps are needed to provide security and assure everyone’s safety at large public events."

A key component of planning a successful public event is selecting the right venue that can accommodate the size of the crowd. Some events have become so popular that they’ve outgrown the available space at Market Square and Krutch Park.

The Office of Special Events will continue to help event organizers make their public gatherings and cultural celebrations safe and successful. Special Events staff will work with event planners, giving them choices of venues, including some new options:

• World’s Fair Park. The Festival Lawn (North Lawn) has long been a popular venue for charity events, 5K runs, food festivals and special events, including the City’s Fourth of July celebration. Beginning with the 2019 Festival on the Fourth, the new Performance Lawn (South Lawn) will open with a stage, drainage infrastructure and a total of $3 million in upgrades.

• Mary Costa Plaza at the Civic Coliseum. This venue hosted several large outdoor events in 2017. It’s a large semi-shaded venue with 2,500 adjacent garage parking spaces.

• South Waterfront. The newly opened Suttree Landing Park offers a one-acre festival lawn with access to electricity. Parking is limited, so shuttling to and from garages might be necessary for many events.

Also, a new 37,500-square-foot public event space is under construction at Blount Avenue and the Henley Bridge, adjacent to the new South Waterfront riverwalk that’s being built. Free public parking (250 spaces) is available on evenings and weekends on Levels 6 through 8 of the garage on the former Baptist Hospital site.

"Plain and simple, these new measures are a matter of keeping everyone safe," Police Chief David Rausch said. "We appreciate that festivals bring vibrancy to Knoxville, and we don't want to do anything to diminish that. The new safety measures and venue choices will actually increase the capacity of downtown to host public events."

Judith Foltz, Director of Special Events, agreed.

"We’re excited about the newly renovated, updated World’s Fair Park South Lawn opening next year," she said. "The Special Events team is eager to continue to work with festival and concert organizers in selecting the best venue for their public events and maximizing their guests’ enjoyment."



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