Visitors passing through Lenoir City Park may notice improvements as public works employees spruce up the area.
Work began about three months ago and has included renovations to shelters and the cabin, which is now occupied by the Lenoir City Suburbia Women’s Club.
Tony Aikens, Lenoir City mayor, estimated it’s the first time the park has seen a “facelift” for at least a decade.
“It’s the first time that any major thing’s been done to Lenoir City Park in a number of years,” he said. “It’s something that we felt like needed to be done and, you know, there’s a lot of communities they wish they had something like Lenoir City Park and such a beautiful facility over there and now that we’ve turned the cabin over the Suburbia Women and cleaned it up. I mean it’s just so — we’ve done some paving over the as well at the boat ramp.
“Ed Loy contributed man hours and monetary contributions for the Lenoir City dog park and Ken Brewster went over, Brewster’s Service Group, went over and cleaned all the area up around the pond to make it more attractive,” he added. “So we’re going to continue to work on it until we get all the sheds completed and get the other poles changed out. It’s a beautiful place to visit and go have a picnic and spend time with the family.”
Aikens applauded public works employees William Jenkins, Michael Watson and Trevor Ezell.
As of last week, crews completed shelters 2, 3 and 5. For the past two weeks the crew worked on shed No. 1, which Watson estimates is the oldest in the park.
“... It’s still not perfect, but I mean it’s a probably 60-year-old shed and it was a shed and so then we came in and took down all the old lights and put in can lights for the wiring,” Watson said. “Just basically giving it an update. Hoping to have this one done by (June 28) for the Fourth and then in a couple weeks we’ll come in and seal it so that the wood stays in good condition over the years.
“It’ll probably have to be resealed every so many years but hopefully it’ll be something that will last and people can enjoy,” he added.
Once shed No. 1 is finished, workers will shift focus to shed No. 4 and the gazebo. Watson estimated work could be done in the fall.
“Sometimes they want deadlines because of the events over here,” Watson said. “Like we had to do 2 and 3 before Easter and then we wanted to get the next shed done by Rockin’ the Docks, the first one, and then this one. So it’s reasonable time. That one probably won’t take quite two weeks because it’s smaller (Shed No. 4). ... Really with the park I think what they were looking at is it’s a unique park. I mean overall it’s a great place to go to the lake and everything here and we just weren’t giving it enough attention. Over the years it had kind of been neglected and not been made use of as it could have been and so they wanted to step in and kind of give some facelifts.
“The public uses it and so we want a park that we can be proud of as Lenoir City citizens and employees, and so the mayor as well as Jennifer Wampler I know was greatly involved and Don White all stepped in and wanted to do some great renovations,” he added. “Really just put some money into these sheds where people who could come over and have their family reunions and stuff.”
The city attempted to get a $75,000 matching grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in hopes of placing a concrete trail around the pond, but Aikens said last week the city learned it didn’t go through.
“The trail you can walk on it now, we just wanted to make it — people are able to walk down the pond,” Aikens said. “We just want to make it more attractive and accessible to the general public where you’re not tripping over branches and leaves and trees and things of that nature. We’re just wanting to make it a place to go to walk and to exercise and have a picnic, if you will, down at the pond. I mean it’s a very nice location. We’re going to continue to work on it, we’re not giving up, and we’ll get it in. It may not be in this budget cycle, but hopefully in the next 12-24 months and sooner than that. I mean those grants, they’re out there, those small grants, obviously if somebody wanted to make a contribution the city to go toward that reworking the city park and putting that sidewalk in, obviously, we would accept that.”
Aikens estimates $200,000 will be needed to update the trail.