Carol Evans, Executive Director, Legacy Parks Foundation //
What is your advice for the next generation of city changemakers?
The best advice I can give to the next generation is to listen in many different ways. So many people are passionate and have great ideas. It is extremely important to give these talented people a voice and a platform.
An expression I like to use is to “make the table rounder and larger.” By this I mean it is part of my job to invite people to this table so that their ideas can be heard and we can achieve sustained success. In my line of work, you do not always have to come up with the best idea but you have to be able to identify the best idea.
What inspires you?
Many different things inspire me, but what comes immediately to mind is new ideas. I really enjoy speaking with different people and listening to their ideas. What I take away most from these interactions is their energy, because through their energy and enthusiasm, projects happen. Working with others to bring their ideas to life truly inspires me.
What are the top three issues facing Knoxville, TN and Legacy Parks?
One of the biggest issues facing this area is an abundance of opportunities, but a shortage of time to seize them. This can specifically be applied to the preservation of land. When an opportunity like that arises you must seize the moment. Timeliness of projects and the ability to be opportunistic are important qualities in creating an preserving parkland.
Another important issue is connecting the dots – how do we bring people and ideas together. By identifying who and where I can bring the best people together for a project enables a project to be successful. If there is one thing I have learned through this position, it is that there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter project.”
An additional issue we come across is that we must be authentic in what we do. This includes embracing diversity and culture. It is essential that the projects we work on, and how we approach this line of work is authentic to Knoxville. Our work, and results of our work must be true to who we are.
What are one or two projects on which you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
One of the projects I am most excited about is the Knoxville Urban Wilderness. The objective of this project is to take the disconnected and cultural assets of the area and transform them into popular destinations. Turning them into hip places to live and bring an overall excitement to the area.
Another project we are working on is the revitalization of the Tennessee River. This includes providing greater access to the river as well as ensuring the river and surrounding area have sustained health. Since the Tennessee River is such an important natural landmark to the city of Knoxville, it is essential that we utilize it to the best of our abilities.
What should we know about your work that you have not mentioned because we did not ask the right questions?
My line of work can be summed up as to taking advantage of opportunities that are presented. Additionally, I really enjoy working alongside people in our community. In this matter, and through the passion that we display, we are able to produce our best work.
Could you tell us something about yourself that most of your colleagues do not know about you?
I was the weather girl in Fairbanks, Alaska. Thank goodness there is no footage!