TDEC sought funds to renovate HHSP restaurant

Friday, February 26, 2010

While state budget cuts include the prospective closure of the restaurant at Henry Horton State Park, the department that controls that park sought funds to renovate that building and another.

"We made a request for approximately $2.65 million for Fiscal Year 2010-11, which was not funded, to renovate Henry Horton's inn and restaurant," according to Meg Lockhart, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

That work would have been "similar to the upgrades we've made at Montgomery Bell, Paris Landing, Fall Creek Falls and Pickwick Landing," the TDEC spokeswoman said Wednesday while responding to questions about the park and state spending.

The state did, however, appropriate nearly $1 million for almost 400 acres north of the campgrounds on the north side of the Duck River. That money was appropriated well over a year ago as authorized by the state Building Commission.

Meanwhile, work is being conducted to rebuild restrooms and bathhouses at the campgrounds.

"Due to the efforts of our park staff, the two bathhouses at Henry Horton campground have exceeded their expected life cycle," Lockhart said. "One bathhouse was constructed in the mid 1960s and the other in the early '70s. However, both bathhouses have structural and foundation issues that make renovation impractical."

Since renovation was impractical, the result of the new construction had to make the buildings comply with the Americans with Disability Act, ADA, she said.

"Neither of the existing buildings could be retrofitted to be ADA compliant.

Construction began on a replacement project in February, she said. The maximum construction cost of both bathhouses is $520,000, which will include demolition and total re-builds. Both bathhouses also will be made ADA accessible. So the campground can continue to operate, construction on each new bathhouse will be done one at a time. The contractor who is handling this project is TG Constructors based in Brentwood.

The project was funded and approved by the State Building Commission in Fiscal Year 2007-08, she said.