Connecting Everyone to the Outdoors

Intergenerational Playspace Beverly Park

Legacy Parks is creating Knoxville’s first Intergenerational Playspace at Beverly Park in east Knox County.

Through a $150,000 Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee grant awarded to Legacy Parks in 2022, the Playspace will be created at the existing Knox County park. Trinity’s two-phase proposal/grant process seeks partners to address posted topics of interest related to the general health and well-being of our region.

Studies show that people of all ages benefit from increased physical activity, access to vitamin D, fresh air, and the reduction of health risk factors associated with outdoor activity. Research on Intergenerational play specifically, has shown that children display higher levels of language and problem-solving skills when they have lots of contact with adults. Intergenerational play also shifts play from being a competitive activity to a more playful one. But the benefits are not just for children – playful interactions can also benefit older adults, supporting better health and social engagement, preventing cognitive decline, and creating multigenerational learning opportunities.

With help from Ross/Fowler and healthcare and parks practitioners, a design was created that includes:

An ellipse shaped central activity area surrounded by a walking track with handrail
Inside the ellipse will be the therapeutic zone and play area featuring equipment for both intergenerational play and physical exercise
The Playspace overlooks the newly added dog park and will connect to the existing paved loop
Benches and a walking Storybook trail feature will be added to the loop encouraging users to walk the loop to read the story – an ideal intergenerational activity
The intent of the design is to create a place for generations to interact through activity, to stimulate the brain, body and the senses with a variety of physical, visual, audible, and cognitive experiences for all generations, and to take full advantage of all the benefits of being outdoors.

Humana awarded Legacy Parks an additional $20,000 to sponsor the therapeutic zone which will feature rehabilitative physical exercise equipment and activities for low impact, body weight exercises to focus on balance, muscle tone and fall prevention. Hillcrest and other programming partners will be able to utilize the space for rehabilitation exercises with seniors in an outdoor environment.

The TVA Retirees Association and Bicentennial Volunteers will provide benches along the walkway to further their contribution to Legacy Parks and local parks. To date, they have funded benches at I.C. King Park, Sharp’s Ridge and Collier Preserve.

Once constructed, the park will be owned and managed by Knox County as a public park.

The entire community will benefit from the activities provided – adults with mobility and physical rehabilitation issues, active adults, families, and children will all enjoy the recreational experiences in a beautiful public space.

Project Partners 

Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee, Humana, Hillcrest Healthcare, TVA Retirees Association, Ross/Fowler, Siddiqi Foundation, Knox County Parks and Recreation and the Knox County Health Department