A RICH HISTORY
For more than a century the Veterans District provided health care to veterans and others in need. In 1892 the State of Iowa opened an Institute for the Blind. Following WWI, the facility was converted to a VA Hospital which grew over the years, reaching a capacity of 1631 beds, and serving our veterans until 2009 when the facility was closed. During its tenure the VA was a major employer in Knoxville and contributed significantly to Knoxville’s economic and community vitality.
As we move forward in creating a new community, it is important that we honor the District’s past and its contribution to Knoxville. The newly developing community has been named “The Veterans District”, part of the Great Lawns has been incorporated into a new community called “Veterans Park”, and the historic grid street system and names have been retained.
A Glowing Future
Marion County and the City of Knoxville are partnering in the development of the Veterans District. The 152 acre site will be primarily dedicated to housing. Several residential neighborhoods will be created in the District over the next 20 years, the first being Veterans Park with the dwellings surrounding the newly created park.
Veterans Park will reflect the “new-urbanism” style already existing in Knoxville’s mature neighborhoods. Veterans Park is designed to simulate the experience of natural outdoor environment, encourage biking and walking and the relaxations of a simpler lifestyle
Veterans Park occupies 3.5 acres of the former VA Hospital Great Lawns. The park includes two dozen majestic 100-year-old trees, native plantings, a splash pad for the enjoyment of young and old and creative and interesting child play areas. The park also offers quiet strolling meadow like settings. Designed by Dennis Reynolds, one of the Midwest’s most innovative landscape architects, Veterans Park welcomes Knoxville residents and visitors alike to a uniquely natural landscape and park experience.
Veterans Park will also be connected to Knoxville’s extensive trail system connecting with Young’s Park and the Knoxville Raceway to the east, and to the Marion County Campground and the Competine Trail to the south.