State closes pool permanently at Roan Mountain State Park
Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Tennessee State Parks will seek input from visitors of five parks in Upper East Tennessee in meetings beginning Dec. 13 to discuss replacement options for swimming pools currently at those parks.
Parks officials announced that swimming pools will not reopen at David Crockett Birthplace State Park, Roan Mountain State Park, Warriors’ Path State Park, Panther Creek State Park and Cove Lake State Park. The swimming pools were closed in 2020 and 2021 due to complications related to COVID-19. Reopening the pools is unfeasible due to aging facilities, declining visitation pre-COVID 19 and high expenses. Tennessee State Parks has allocated $400,000 for each park to invest in new outdoor recreation activities. State parks officials encourage Tennesseans to voice their opinions on options for alternative, year-round outdoor recreational operations at each park. “The swimming pools at these parks require major maintenance upgrades while usage continues to decline. We believe it is unfair to Tennessee taxpayers for the state to continue to invest in these swimming pools with rising costs and declining visitation,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “Fortunately, the Tennessee General Assembly has been very supportive of the parks in recent years, which has allowed us to allocate funding for options that are more fiscally responsible to taxpayers and that visitors can enjoy year-round. We first want to hear from visitors of the parks about what they would prefer and use.”
The funds for each park will go to options that can be used throughout the year. Swimming pools, in contrast, operate only 70 days each year.
At David Crockett Birthplace State Park, the pool is 46 years old, and visitation is down.
At Roan Mountain State Park, the pool is 41 years old, and visitation is down.
At Warriors’ Path State Park, the pool is 59 years old, visitation is down, a public pool exists nearby, and swimming in the lake is available.
At Panther Creek State Park, the pool is 36 years old, visitation is down, lake swimming opportunities exist, and a public splashpad is five miles away.
At Cove Lake State Park, the pool is 72 years old, and visitation is down.
A meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 14, at Roan Mountain State Park from 5 to 6 p.m. in the conference center to receive input from the public about year-round programs and what they prefer at the park.
Anyone may attend the meeting.