Chattanooga's Main Terrain Art Park opens today

photo Workers prepare for the grand opening of the Main Terrain Art Park near the 400 block of Main Street early Wednesday afternoon.

IF YOU GOWhat: Grand opening of Main Terrain Art ParkWhen: 10:30 a.m. ceremony and presentation by the park's designers at 5:30 p.m. at The ChattanooganWhere: Between Main and 13th streets in South Chattanooga

The city's newest park stretches out in a line, with sculptures anchoring each end and the largest sculptures claiming the middle ground.

A walkway encircles Main Terrain Art Park that was created between old warehouses and manufacturing plants. The park opens today to the public.

"If you had been here in October, it was an overgrown, decrepit piece of land," said Dan Bowers, president of Artsbuild, the organization that helped secure funding for the park.

The park cost a little more than $1 million, and funding came primarily from the Lyndhurst Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The park is part art, part fitness center and part stormwater detention pond.

PlayCore donated five exercise stations on the walking track. The 1.75-acre park has three large interactive sculptures in the middle that can be turned by wheels.

The artist, Thomas Sayre, developed sculptures that are both visible and provide a fitness element. Turning the wheels takes some strength, said Christian Karkow, who works with Sayre and helped design the sculptures.

"It's a fitness component," he said. "It takes a few calories to do it."

Peggy Townsend, director for Public Art Chattanooga, said four haiku are engraved into the walking path to represent the four seasons.

The sculptures in the park form an arc, with the end sculptures going from shorter to taller and the large sculptures in the middle. There are red lights on top of each sculpture to help direct the eye toward each piece at night.

The idea is to show a linkage between North Chattanooga and South Chattanooga, Karkow said.

Townsend agreed.

"It really is a bridge of shape and light," she said.