Victor Ashe Greenway and Park History
Victor Henderson Ashe II (born January 1, 1945) is the current United States Ambassador to Poland. From 1988 to 2003, he was the mayor of Knoxville. Serving for 16 years, Ashe held the longest term in the City’s history. Ashe is a Knoxville native, and he attended public school. He graduated from Yale University in 1967 with a BA in history. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1974. Ashe’s former roommate from Yale was President George W. Bush. Before becoming an elected official, Ashe worked as an intern for Congressman Bill Brock, and as a staff assistant for Senator Howard Baker.
As mayor, Ashe led several initiatives to improve Knoxville’s civic and financial matters. Some initiatives included waterfront development along the Tennessee River and the building of a convention center to attract tourism and business. Others included downtown redevelopment and sign and billboard control.
During Ashe's time in office, parkland in Knoxville was increased from 700 to 1,700 acres and 30 miles of greenway was added.
Ashe was a strong supporter of city parks. He initiated a program called "Penny for the Parks" to create a trust fund that would use a one cent tax and federal matching money to commit $250,000 a year for city parks, greenways and historic preservation. After leaving office, Ashe was awarded a Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal, which was granted by the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration in recognition of his work on public parks and greenways.
As mayor, Ashe helped to establish a sister-city relationship with the city of Chelm, Poland, and led two delegations to that city. Ashe became the U.S. ambassador to Poland in June 2004.