Holly Haworth's article "First Creek: a Journey" [cover story, Aug. 22, 2013] certainly satisfied my curiosity about this watershed—without my getting in the muck. It opened my eyes to the concept of urban exploration.
It fits well with the Letter to the Editor, Aug. 1st, by Shiloh Jines. Both letter and article show a link to First Creek and Standard Knitting Mill.
Shiloh wants a riverwalk along the creek and mill. Holly wants you in the creek. One wants to empower the mill, the other the creek. But both want to empower the community.
The article shows a picture of the elevated walkway. Actually there are extensive walkways above the water. I think this is a great place to dine, overlooking a future cleaned-up creek. But I don't think the building itself will fund a riverwalk nor creek activism. Money will. And so I want to add a proposal: keep the walls along the creek and the railroad track, preserve a crescent span of the mill's flooring. Then tear the mill down—and bring back a Smokies stadium. Art is the struggle to highlight history and culture in a place that rewards beer.
The reason this blighted property sits there is the respect for private property; people don't go on the property. I can tell everyone that your kids, stray pets, and artists certainly do. I tell people about the pit along the railroad track, well designed so that no one can escape. On the east side is a shaft. And, yes, your wayward child can get away from the playground, cross the footbridge (did you know about a footbridge?), and be on private property. There are enough hazards to give your kid a bad day. But if your child goes one way and not another, and finds the shaft, then you will have a bad day.