Onward & Upward

Aspire gearing up for $3.84 million center

  • Clinton Building Inspector John Householder looks over the plans for the new Onward & Upward Center in the Aspire Park complex under construction in South Clinton - G. Chambers Williams III

  • This drawing from the plans shows how the new Aspire Park Onward & Upward Center will look. - G. Chambers Williams III

The Aspire Foundation last week received a building permit from the city of Clinton to construct the $3.84 million Onward & Upward Center in the Aspire Park now being developed in South Clinton.

Clinton Building Inspector John Householder said he approved the building permit for the 30,000-square-foot structure on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and he was told construction should begin soon.

“This will be the biggest building on the (170-acre park) site, and will include meeting rooms, a restaurant and an open terrace,” he said. “This is going to be built to draw the public in.”

Already nearly completed at an entrance to the park off Yarnell Road is a pavilion that will be available for outdoor events, including a farmers’ market, Householder said.

“This is going to be an amazing park when they get done with it,” Clinton City Manager Roger Houck said Monday.

Construction began on the park in 2019.

The planned park goes from the driving range on Yarnell Road all the way to the Clinch River, then up the hill. About 170 acres are privately owned by the Hollingsworth Foundation, and about 239 acres adjacent to that belong to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and will be incorporated into the park area.

Householder said the city has already approved a kayak launch site.

“We wanted this to be a component [of] the recent Clinton Vision and a true experience that would repeatedly attract local appreciation and some national recognition,” Joe Hollingsworth Jr. said in a story in The Courier News in March 2019 announcing the kick-off of construction.

“Additionally, we wanted it to highlight some of the local historic stories to give a texture of the community to those who enjoy the park,” he said.

As for TVA’s role, Hollingsworth said: “They’ve been very nice to try to work with us on a recreation easement allowing us to do 18 miles of mountain bike trails [and] hiking trails of various intensities all across the mountain.”

The TVA property already is used as public land, including two islands in the river adjacent to the new park.