Emerald Youth Foundation has announced plans for a world-class, multi-million dollar complex in the heart of Lonsdale that will serve young people and their families. 

The project includes two multipurpose, synthetic turf fields for soccer, flag football and other sports. Additionally, the complex includes a +30,000 square foot multi-purpose facility featuring a learning center; two full-size gymnasiums with basketball courts, locker rooms, concessions and kitchen; fitness area with weight room, dance/aerobics room and cardio theater; assembly room for gatherings; and a worship and performing arts area with practice rooms.

View the entire announcement.




Today we were pleased to break ground on the Lonsdale Ministry Complex. It was a joyful afternoon, and we're so grateful to the Sansom and Haslam families, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and most of all, the community stakeholders of Lonsdale for making this project possible! See the full press release and photos from the ceremony.


Emerald Youth Foundation and community leaders will break ground on the Lonsdale Ministry Complex Friday, July 20, at 1:30 p.m. The event will be held on property at the corner of Texas Avenue and Stonewall Street in the Lonsdale community. Guests will include Elisabeth and Bill Sansom and Dee and Jimmy Haslam, the families funding the project; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; Emerald Youth Foundation President & CEO Steve Diggs; key stakeholders and residents of Lonsdale; and a host of Emerald Youth children. The public is invited to attend.


As progress continues in the planning of Lonsdale's new neighborhood multipurpose complex, Emerald Youth Foundation remains grateful for the support of Lonsdale residents and other neighborhood stakeholders.


Knoxville City Council voted unanimously in support of the Lonsdale neighborhood multipurpose complex at its October 24 meeting.


Emerald Youth Foundation's Lonsdale proposal is scheduled to go before Knoxville City Council at its October 24 meeting. Pending City Council approval, the land will be purchased and developed into an approximately $8 million-dollar multipurpose facility generously funded by the personal foundations of Elisabeth and Bill Sansom and Dee and Jimmy Haslam. In addition to purchasing the land itself, each family foundation will contribute roughly half the construction costs. The property will then be leased to Emerald Youth for $1 a year. Both families have existing relationships with Emerald Youth Foundation and are excited about the long-term investment in the Lonsdale neighborhood. Read the full release.


Knox County Commission unanimously voted 11-0 to approve “…a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Knoxville to transfer a portion of the Sam E. Hill School property located at 1725 Delaware Avenue to the City of Knoxville for the development of the property into a multi-purpose recreation, art, and education facility for the children and youth of Lonsdale and the greater Knoxville community.”



Who is involved with this project?
This proposal is being led by Emerald Youth Foundation, an organization with a 25-year track record serving children in the heart of Knoxville. The City of Knoxville is a key partner in providing infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, etc.) that would benefit the general public and the proposed project.

Why Lonsdale?
Since 2006, the population of Lonsdale Elementary School has more than doubled. Additionally, we believe this is the right neighborhood to connect with more kids and has seen more than its fair share of challenges for young people.

What is being proposed?
Emerald Youth is proposing a sports and multipurpose complex that will include an academic learning center. Drawings and renderings can be accessed at emeraldyouth.org.

Who will use the proposed facility?
It is the hope and prayer of Emerald Youth that this will be a transformative asset for the Lonsdale neighborhood. Children, young adults, families, and seniors will all have something to look forward to if this project comes to fruition.

How will the proposed facility impact longstanding neighborhood events, such as the Lonsdale Homecoming?
Emerald Youth is absolutely committed to continuing the longstanding tradition of events such as the Lonsdale Homecoming, and we are hopeful that the potential project would only enhance what is already a great community event.

Additionally, we are willing to build the schedule of our programs for young people around the event so as not to create a conflict or interfere.

Will walk up use or “free play” be allowed?
Emerald Youth is committed to making the proposed facility available for the neighborhood as much as possible while still maintaining structured programming for young people.


    Will other groups be allowed to use the facility?
    Yes. While the details of a reservation system, nominal fees, and other details are yet to be finalized, it is the desire of Emerald Youth that this space would be made available to groups wishing to utilize it for events, community meetings, etc.

    Is this just a sports facility?
    Absolutely not. The goal of Emerald Youth is to comprehensively engage young people through programs in faith, learning or academics, and health. This facility will offer robust programming in all three areas. On top of that, it will also offer music and arts programming, a fitness center, as well as an academic learning center modeled by what is utilized on a college campus.

    Has Emerald Youth engaged neighborhood stakeholders?
    Yes. To date, Emerald Youth has engaged more than 350 Lonsdale neighborhood stakeholders about the proposal. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and as one neighborhood leader said, “This facility represents hope.” However, we are always willing to sit down with other groups. If you know of an individual or group that would like to be engaged, please let us know.

    How will this proposed complex impact Sam E. Hill Preschool?
    Currently, Sam E. Hill Preschool does not have a gymnasium. If built, the proposed complex would include a gymnasium that could be shared and used by the school, as well as other assets which could be shared, including the performing arts studio and playing fields.

    What all has to happen before construction can begin?
    The Knox County Board of Education, County Commission, and City Council must each approve certain aspects of the proposal. Following that process, construction will begin. Anticipated completion is late 2018.

    I still have more questions about the proposal, I would like for someone to come speak to me and / or a group, or am curious about how I can get involved. What should I do?
    Visit emeraldyouth.org, call Emerald Youth’s main office at 865-637-3227, or email info@emeraldyouth.org.


    Aerial Site Plan