A place to contemplate history, enjoy the sound of the spring and the smell of flowers is the concept that University of Tennessee Smart Communities Initiative students have for Taylor’s Spring …
A place to contemplate history, enjoy the sound of the spring and the smell of flowers is the concept that University of Tennessee Smart Communities Initiative students have for Taylor’s Spring Park.
The concept was considered by the Cleveland City Council Taylor’s Spring committee during a meeting Tuesday.
The Smart Communities Initiative is a program in which University of Tennessee at Knoxville students complete planning projects as part of their course work for a partner city. Cleveland was the first partner city last year.
“We are happy just to help out and make some of these opportunities just very visible,” said Brad Collett, assistant professor for landscape architecture.
The plan proposed having an observation area a step down from First Street where people could look at the spring. A ramp would lead from the observation area to an area where the spring would be pooled into a pond. A small cabin would also be built on the site. Rock outcrops and plants would be added.
“Working last semester on the (Cleveland/Bradley County) Greenway, I was looking at ways of tying the Greenway in with significant historical sites, significant cultural sites,” student Jessica Taylor said. “The idea was kind of pulling back the layers of urban development that have occurred from Andrew Taylor’s time to reveal this spring, and also to reveal the landscape that was there at the time Cleveland was settled.”
At a previous meeting, committee member Allan Jones had mentioned the possibility of having a springhouse over the spring.
Taylor said because of the grade change from the road to the spring, this was not a feasible idea.
“The cabin was obviously a very important element to the site, so we decided to instead move it to another location,” Taylor said.
Jones said he would like to see the cabin be a “replica of what the springhouse would have looked like.”
“I like the design of it, I like the way they have done it,” Jones said. “We need to try to be authentic and be historic in what that cabin would have looked like.”
Collett said moving the cabin/springhouse structure was also a way to allow people to easily see the actual spring without having to peer into or enter a structure.
“I think the thought with the springhouse was, you went to a lot of trouble to daylight the spring, so to come back and cover it up, though authentic, it might diminish the potential of what this spring could offer,” Collett said.
Committee member Richard Banks said the spring needed to be protected from people wanting to swim in it.
Committee member and Cleveland historian Bob George said he would like to see the state flower, the Ocoee passion flower, used at the site. He also said he would like to see some historical interpretation to inform people about the site.
“We don’t need just another pretty park, this is the beginning of our city,” George said.
Banks agreed, suggesting that a plaque be put on the site with a Web address for more information on Andrew Taylor.
Collett said even a quick response code could be used.
He also suggested the site be added to the Southeast Tennessee Development Districts app that alerts people when they are near historic sites.
The students’ plan also proposed a wall with the name of the park to draw attention to the area.
“The plantings up at this level would be a bit more manicured and urban in nature, and then … once you descended down the ramp into the site, moving into more of a native plant palate,” Taylor said.
Student Lindsey Bradley proposed using serviceberry plants and shrubs near the entrance to the park.
Marsh marigolds and cardinal flowers were suggested for closer to the pond, “to be more natural to what you would have in a marshy area,” Bradley said.
The park would also have an area for people to sit and watch the water, as well as have picnics.
Taylor also suggested having the pond area open so people could touch the cold, clear water.
The Taylor’s Spring committee was formed to design and plan how the recently uncovered Taylor’s Spring should be preserved. A park is the main idea.
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