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September 08, 2014

Green is the New Grey: Restoring Coal-Covered Land to Former Glory

In 2008, a coal-ash spill devastated Kingston, TN, when a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dike failed, spewing 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and over 300 acres of land. The nation’s largest coal-ash spill in history, covered the community’s trees, water and land in grey and left the TVA with a huge mess to clean up. But with more than a billion dollars allocated for clean-up and restoration, the TVA worked tirelessly to return the area to its former glory.

More than five years later, the TVA has constructed Lakeshore Park, packed with amenities like walking trails, picnic areas, fishing piers and, you guessed it, GatorDock. When news came of the initiative to turn the grey to green space, GatorDock jumped at the opportunity, working alongside Jacobs Engineering. An integral part of the TVA’s second phase, Gator constructed two docks and a fishing pier.

One of the first parts of the project was to build a courtesy dock, allowing boat launchers to easily move from land to vessel. The 30’ aluminum dock designed as a poly-tub floating dock features a 70’ concrete ramp with rail and 40’ gangway, providing non-motorized boaters easy access to the water.

This wasn’t the only Gator structure included at Lakeshore Park. GatorDock also constructed a 140’-by-10’ floating fishing pier. We’ll let you in on a secret: GatorDock is the only company to do floating fishing piers like this. The pier, built with the fisherman in mind, includes a wood shelf, slanted for optimum fishing comfort and on the lower section of the pier has a horizontal bait shelf for fisherman to store their bait.

As if that wasn’t enough the pier is also ADA accessible, just one of many of our structures designed with everyone in mind.  

“That’s one of Gator’s biggest strengths: understand, interpret and design for accessibility,” said Rick Cawston, Gator’s southeastern regional manager.

Now Kingston’s community members of all abilities can spend time at Lakeshore Park, a stark contrast from the grey that once consumed the area. With a 900’ vegetative wall, more than 1,600 planted trees, five acres of reforestation and wildlife seeding, and access to fishing and the water the Kingston community has a lot to celebrate.  

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