My name is Scott Brun, and I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words this afternoon. I’m here on behalf of a new group of Knoxville community leaders and volunteers, called “Friends of Downtown Island Airport”. This special jewel of an island is a unique part of the vibrant South Knoxville waterfront neighborhood. With the collaboration and engagement of neighbors, business and park leaders, our group aims to help the Metropolitan Airport Authority develop DKX for the long-lasting enjoyment of the entire Knoxville community.
For over 25 years, I’ve traveled this amazing country as a television producer, creating content for some of the nation’s most popular networks. I’ve ridden motorcycles with Captain Kirk in the Hollywood Hills, I’ve gotten a little too up-close-and-personal with two Triple Crown winners, and I’ve survived spending the day with Vanilla Ice, doing stunts I may or may not be legally allowed to talk about. My point being, I’ve met a lot of fascinating people, seen a lot of things, and been a lot of places. I’ve come to have a pretty good sense for when there’s valid opportunity for a person or a place. Knoxville’s downtown island is one of those places. The majestic Tennessee River, the unencumbered views of our skyline, the neighboring Urban Wilderness – there is so much going for it.
When our group thinks about the island, we have 3 main goals that guide our discussions:
1-How can we partner with the Island Home Neighborhood, working together for the benefit of the neighborhood and the airport.
2-How to connect and engage sustainable use of the airport with other assets such as the greenways, trails, water, and parks in South Knoxville.
3-How to make the airport a strong asset in supporting STEM activities, encouraging younger generations to consider careers related to aviation.
On that point, this past July, I had the opportunity to visit my first AirVenture in Oshkosh Wisconsin. 650,000 people, over 10,000 planes of all shapes, sizes, and ages. But with all those big numbers, there was 1 single common factor – the eagerness to develop aviation for the future. The Wright Brothers made their first flight only 120 years ago, my Grandfather Edward Brun, actually delivered groceries to them in their bicycle shop in Dayton Ohio, that’s how young this idea of powered flight really is! There is a long way to go with the development of aviation, and places like Downtown Island Airport can play a small part in that evolution, giving local kids a place to develop the skills to make a difference.
The idea of aviation, the wonder of flight, it’s something that sparks every child’s imagination and every adult’s respect and admiration. Becoming a pilot is not like getting a driver’s license, it’s tougher and it should be. It takes a fair amount of knowledge, skill, and concentration. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t still fascinated with it and want to just be around it. The “Friends of Downtown Island Airport” is here to help the MKAA make the island a unique place the entire Knoxville community can enjoy.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and volunteers, I Thank You for your time and opportunity to speak here this afternoon.