The initial grading work has begun on Aspire in South Clinton.
Privately funded through the Hollingsworth Foundation, the park still has to answer to numerous government agencies before it opens.
“In total, Aspire’s footprint is currently encompassing nine federal and state entities that have a direct correlation to the park’s development; and, we are working diligently with those agencies to ensure compliance and safety for our visitors,” said Mike Wallace, executive director of the Hollingsworth Foundation.
“The city of Clinton has been an integral part of our current success to date in these endeavors,” he said.
There has been much speculation on the impact of the park on some businesses in South Clinton.
Wallace said the foundation has taken all facets of planning the park into consideration.
“As you can imagine, working to establish a private park for the next 100 years that is free to the public, involving no taxpayer money, requires working with all surrounding property owners,” Wallace said. “In addition, the nine federal and state agencies that have authority require us to do a massive amount of planning and cooperation to enable the park’s success for the community.
“We are sure some agencies will require additional measures to make sure that this community treasure is designed for success.”
Because of the number of agencies involved, setting a timeline for opening the park is murky at best. While none of the original plans have been altered, timelines have been shifted.
“We have begun our grade work, and the actual Aspire groundbreaking ceremony will coincide with the actual groundbreaking of a building sometime in the next few months.”
“The Aspire Foundation has already received preliminary approval from the (Clinton) Planning Commission for the lower meadow sand will be presenting preliminary plans for approval to the Planning Commission on Monday, Oct. 14.”
Wallace said there are so many facets to the park that tying them together — along with getting approval and input for the numerous agencies involved — has taken the most effort in achieving the completion of the park.
“Aspire Foundation and TVA are in the process of working toward a cooperative agreement for trailing aspects on the Lost Ridge Mountain property and also are in the process of coordinating the completion of the TVA 26A Permit process for the launch area at Aspire that will allow access to the Clinch River,” Wallace said.
A solid timeline may be slippery to nail down, but one thing is certain — Aspire is moving forward.