Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney, and two county commissioners, whose districts are most impacted by the park, held a press conference Wednesday to share why they believe the pool at Panther Creek State Park should stay open. In early December 2021, Tennessee State Parks announced the swimming pool at Panther Creek and 10 other state parks would not reopen in 2022.
Both mayors plan to present a joint resolution strongly urging state park officials to begin discussions with local leaders to keep the pool open in the coming weeks.
Tennessee State Park officials said that reopening was unfeasible due to aging facilities, declining visitation pre-COVID 19, and high expenses. For Pather Creek, the cost of repairs would be around $580,000 according to Brittain.
“If the difference is a $180,000 and the state is constantly bragging about how much surplus money they have and in November of this year topped the one billion (with a b) mark to have a billion dollars in surplus. We think that kicking in 180,000 to keep a park pool open. We are not slain by the argument that it needs to be closed,” said Chesney.
Tennessee State Parks have outlined their plan to replace the pool with a recreational operation that can stay open year-round. They are accepting public comment for alternatives online until January 19, 2022.