Press Release from the Office of Glen Casada, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, January 29, 2019:

Today, Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) announced the addition of his new senior staff to assist in the operations of the Tennessee House of Representatives and to help serve the citizens of the state.

Cade Cothren has been named Chief of Staff in Speaker Casada’s office. Cothren will oversee day-to-day operations in the General Assembly for the Speaker and serve as his top advisor and strategist. Under his leadership, Cothren will select and supervise House staff, manage communications and information flow, and negotiate with key stakeholders and groups to implement the Speaker’s agenda. The University of Tennessee graduate previously served as Political Director, Press Secretary, and Director of Communications. At age 31, Cothren is the youngest person to serve in this role in modern history.

Scott Gilmer has been promoted to Director of Operations in Speaker Casada’s Office. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin and Vanderbilt University, Gilmer has more than 12 years of experience in policy, research and management with the House, fundraising, and campaign consulting with the House Republican Caucus. As Director of Operations, Gilmer will work closely with the Chief of Staff to help oversee operational activities, supervise staff, and set strategic goals for the Tennessee General Assembly.

Holt Whitt has been promoted from Director of Policy for the House Republican Caucus to Director of Legislation for Speaker Casada. Whitt has more than 7 years of policy experience working for the House Republicans. As Director of Legislation, he will help supervise the House Research Division, assist in coordinating legislative efforts on behalf of the Speaker, and serve as a policy advisor. Whitt is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Caroline Bonner joins Speaker Casada’s office as Deputy Director of Legislation. Bonner previously served as Policy Advisor for the House Republican Caucus. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Bonner received her J.D. from Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law. As Deputy Director of Legislation, she will work closely with the Director of Legislation to create a legislative agenda for Speaker Casada. Additionally, Bonner will perform research on important initiatives, prepare complex and detailed reports and summaries, and work to formulate position statements on pending House issues.

“Cade, Scott, Holt, and Caroline are remarkably gifted and loyal, and I am excited to have them on my team,” said Speaker Casada. “I know they will do an incredible job serving my office and helping our entire General Assembly effectively meet the needs of all Tennesseans.”

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, Jan. 25:

LINK: https://www.tn.gov/ecd/news/2019/1/25/commissioner-rolfe-appoints-sammie-arnold-as-assistant-commissioner-of-community-and-rural-development.html

Arnold will lead TNECD’s efforts to promote opportunities across rural Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced today the appointment of Sammie Arnold as TNECD’s assistant commissioner of Community and Rural Development.

Arnold, a native of Dyersburg, Tenn., has been with the department since 2013 and most recently served as assistant commissioner of Strategy and Legislative Affairs.

“With 80 of Tennessee’s 95 counties deemed as rural, our commitment to these areas of the state is a top priority for our department. In just three short years, the number of high-quality jobs in rural counties increased from 50 percent to nearly 65 percent, and we remain focused on continuing this growth,” Rolfe said. “Sammie’s wealth of knowledge of the state is matched by his genuine ambition to help expand opportunities across rural Tennessee, and I look forward to seeing the great things that will be accomplished under his leadership.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Lee issued his first executive order, requiring all state executive departments to issue a statement of rural impact and provide recommendations for better serving rural Tennessee. It is the first step by the administration to accelerate plans to address the 15 Tennessee counties that are designated as distressed.

TNECD offers a number of programs and grants aimed at assisting rural communities to build assets and prepare themselves for industrial recruitment. Since 2017, the department has provided more than $34 million in funding to rural communities throughout the state. In addition, companies have invested $3.5 billion and committed to create more than 17,000 new jobs in rural communities over the past two years.

In 2018, TNECD landed 127 projects representing nearly 21,000 new job commitments. Of those projects, 54 percent located in rural counties, an increase from 45 percent in 2014.

“I am tremendously thankful for this opportunity. As a rural Tennessean with deep small-town roots, I am incredibly passionate about supporting our rural communities and protecting their way of life,” Arnold said. “Governor Lee has asked us to be aggressive in developing creative solutions to help our rural communities that are struggling. My team and our department are up to the task.”

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, January 23, 2019:

LINK: https://www.tn.gov/environment/news/2019/1/23/beecher-wallace-homestead-added-to-state-park-system.html

The Beecher Wallace Homestead in the Dog Cove area near Fall Creek Falls State Park has been added to Tennessee’s public lands, announced today by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and The Land Trust for Tennessee.

The historic homestead, which lies approximately 20 miles north of Fall Creek Falls State Park, will be managed by park staff and open to the public.

The 4.8-acre homestead will serve as a connection point for visitors to the Cumberland Plateau, which features nearby recreational areas including Lost Creek and Virgin Falls State Natural Areas.

“This will be a valuable addition that has natural and historical value,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “We’re glad to have yet another aspect of this area for our visitors to enjoy.”

The homestead addition is located on the southern end of Dog Cove and features a barn, sheds and a farmhouse originally constructed in the late 1800s. Tennessee State Parks will protect the integrity of the home to help interpret the area’s history to visitors.

“Here you’ll find caves, sinks, seeps, creeks and bluffs that all provide tremendous scenic and biological diversity,” said Tennessee State Parks’ Stuart Carroll, a park manager who oversees Lost Creek and Virgin Falls State Natural Areas in addition to Dog Cove. “This homestead will also give visitors a glimpse into the pioneer life of the late 1800s.”

The property adjoins 750 acres acquired by the state in recent years with the assistance of The Land Trust, Open Space Institute and Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.

“Dog Cove is a magical place,” said Liz McLaurin, president and CEO of The Land Trust. “The conservation of this swath of land is an example of the way, over time, land trusts and partners can build relationships that stitch together special places for the enjoyment of Tennesseans and visitors now and forever.”

Dog Cove is a day-use area with eight miles of trails known for its creeks. A large portion of Dog Cove was privately owned by descendants of the Wallace family for more than 100 years. Members of the family worked with the state and The Land Trust to make the land accessible to the public and bring it under state protection.

“This place has meant a lot to my family for generations,” said former landowner Tom Lee. “We are grateful to know others will have the opportunity to enjoy it and that it will always be cared for.”

This conservation success is now part of a network of protected lands across the Plateau, including Fall Creek Falls State Park, Lost Creek State Natural Area, Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Bledsoe State Forest, and Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness Wildlife Management Area. Adjoining those are the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain and Latimer High Adventure Reservation. All together this corridor accounts for roughly 60,000 contiguous acres of significant protected forested habitat.

Press Release from the Office of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, January 23, 2019:

Link: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2019/1/23/gov–bill-lee-issues-first-executive-order-to-address-accelerated-transformation-of-rural-areas.html

All executive departments required to assess rural impact and provide recommendations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued his first executive order, requiring all state executive departments to issue a statement of rural impact and provide recommendations for better serving rural Tennessee.

“My administration will place a high emphasis on the development and success of our rural areas,” said Lee. “Our first executive order sends a clear message that rural areas will be prioritized across all departments as we work to improve coordination in our efforts.”

This executive order is the first step by the administration to accelerate plans to address 15 distressed counties in Tennessee which are all rural. The order requires each executive department to submit a statement of rural impact explaining how the department serves rural Tennesseans no later than May 31, 2019 and recommendations for improving that service by June 30, 2019.

“Our state has reached historic levels of prosperity and I want to ensure that the 15 distressed counties in our state benefit from a concentrated mission,” said Lee. “Each department has communicated full support as we move forward with putting this plan into motion.”

There are 22 executive departments that will engage in this review and recommendation process. Distressed counties rank among the 10 percent most economically distressed counties in the nation. Each year, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) prepares an index of county economic status for every county in the United States.

The 15 distressed counties in Tennessee include: Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.

More information regarding distressed counties may be viewed here: https://www.tn.gov/transparenttn/jobs-economic-development/openecd/tnecd-performance-metrics/openecd-long-term-objectives-quick-stats/distressed-counties.html

Crews are beginning to embark upon construction of the new lodge and restaurant at Tennessee’s most popular state park.

Regional politicians and state government officials gathered this week at Fall Creek Falls for a ground-breaking ceremony at the lake construction zone at Fall Creek Falls. The planned new 98,000-square-foot will be built to “to reflect the natural setting of the park,” according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which oversees state parks.

Breaking ground at Fall Creek Falls State Park are, from left, are Erik Pyle of Bell Construction; Bledsoe County Mayor Gregg Ridley; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally; Rep. Cameron Sexton; TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill; Deputy Gov. Jim Henry; Ann McGuaran, state architect; Rep. Kelly Keisling; Rep. Ron Travis; General Services Deputy Commissioner John Hull; Ron Lustig of Earl Swensson Associates; and Park Manager Jacob Young of Fall Creek Falls State Park.

The new hotel and lake-facing restaurant will include “three floors of visitor space,” along with “indoor and outdoor gathering areas with larger meeting rooms for conferences.”

The projects designers have said the inn will “provide spacious views of the lake and of the park’s natural forest that will evoke long-lasting memories for visitors.”

Walking trails around the lodge will connect up with other trails that wind off into the remote reaches of the park.

“At Fall Creek Falls, the new inn and restaurant are forecast to generate $278,000 per year in sales and occupancy taxes, a growth of $90,000 per year compared to revenue from the previous facility,” according to the TDEC press release. “Short-term, construction is expected to bring in an estimated $14.7 million in taxable spending to the area, along with more than 100 construction jobs.”

Construction is anticipated finish up in 2020.

The Fall Creek Falls project, which also includes other upgrades to existing park facilities and infrastructure,  is part of more than $175 million in capital projects appropriated for state parks since Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took office, the TDEC release noted. Haslam is finishing up his second and final term as Tennessee’s highest elected official.

“This reinvestment in Tennessee’s most famous state park is indicative of similar reinvestments made from Memphis to Kingsport,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner TDEC. “Over $175 million in capital reinvestment is already paying back dividends through increased visitation, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.”

Press Release from the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, January 18, 2019:

Link: https://www.tn.gov/twra/news/2019/1/18/cwd-update-given-at-first-tfwc-2019-meeting.html

MEMPHIS — An update on the status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) was presented during the first meeting of 2019 which concluded Friday at the Duck Unlimited national headquarters.

Chuck Yoest, CWD coordinator for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, made a presentation on the agency’s chronic wasting disease response. Yoest informed the commission the agency has sampled more than 4,800 deer this season in Tennessee. Also, he shared that 62 samples from Hardeman and Fayette counties have been confirmed CWD positive.

The agency anticipates more positive CWD results from these areas since it is placing a heavy emphasis on sampling there according to its response plan. Yoest also said that public meeting held in Bolivar earlier in January in regard to CWD, had an attendance of about 400.

Jamie Feddersen, TWRA migratory gamebird program leader, gave a preview of the 2019-20 season. Changes in the federal framework require the TWRA to update its proclamation each year. The changes presented at the meeting were based mainly on hunter input.

Anticipated federal rules will now allow states to have Jan. 31 as the last day of duck season. Previously federal rules prevented states from having duck season any later than the last Sunday in January. Hunter input indicates the desire to end the duck season Jan. 31. The agency recommends the Reelfoot Foot Zone phase 1 season be Nov. 16-19 and the statewide phase 1 season Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The Reelfoot and statewide zone phase 2 season would be Dec. 7-Jan. 31.

For woodcock season, there was support to provide more hunting days in January so the agency is proposing a split season. For crow, there was support for more hunting days in cooler weather, The agency is also proposing a split season for crow.

There was a presentation from Ducks Unlimited representative DU’s Dave Kostersky. On his annual visit from DU Canada, he reported that there was another dry fall and again officials were hoping for a wet spring in the habitat corridor. He annually makes the visit to provide an update on the partnership and conditions in Canada.

Frank Fiss, TWRA Fisheries Division chief, presented an overview of the fish dealer license to address TFWC questions about license requirements. A fish dealer license is required for bait dealers, fish farmers and operators of pay lakes. In Tennessee, anglers who fish at a licensed pay lake are not required to have a fishing license. This exemption is common among most surrounding states.

Dale Hall, Ducks Unlimited chief executive officer, was honored by the TFWC with a resolution. He has been DU’s top official since 2010 and previously served the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for 31 years, the four as its director.

The commission will consider four rulemaking changes. The TWRA is establishing rules regarding public record requests and will consider changes to the fees associated with motorized boat registrations.

The commission’s established a permanent Tennessee’s Native Son license. When initially created, the Native Son license had an expiration date of Feb. 28, 2019. The change allows the TWRA to continue selling the Native Son license into the future.

The commission passed an amended rule in regard to permit and access fees for non-motorized vessels the rule creates a permit for outfitters that establishes minimum operating standards and associated fees.

Text of prepared inauguration speech delivered by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Jan. 19, 2019:

In 1796, a man and his young family began their homestead just up the way on the banks of the Cumberland River. That was the same year the great state of Tennessee was formed. 223 years and 50 governors later, we stand here on the banks of the Cumberland, celebrating our history and anticipating our future.

I am honored to stand before you today.

Thank you for that warm introduction Governor McNally. Thanks to you, to Speaker Casada and all the Members of the General Assembly. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.

To the former governors, thank you for being here as well. It’s an honor to have you.

I would also like to thank our Constitutional Officers, the Justices of the Supreme Court, Members of Tennessee’s Congressional Delegation and all of my fellow Tennesseans who have joined us here in War Memorial Auditorium, and those watching at home. Thank you for sharing in this special moment.

I would not be here today without God’s gift to me, my wife Maria.

Throughout the past two years of campaigning, Maria has been constantly at my side. She has been steadfastly committed to me and in this process has become committed to the people of Tennessee. She will make a remarkable First Lady. Maria, thank you.

I would also like to thank my family. My mom Ann Lee is here with us today. She’s been the foundation for four generations of the Lee family, and I’m so honored to have her here with us today.

I would also like to thank my children, Jessica, Jacob, Caleb, Sarah Kate and their families. Your love and support has been strong and yet your sacrifice has been great and I thank you.

I’d like to thank Governor Bill Haslam and his wife Crissy for their tireless service to this state for the past eight years.

Governor, standing here in our state’s capital city, we see reminders everywhere of the successes of your administration. Growth and opportunity seem to be found on every corner. From education to economic development, you have laid a tremendous foundation for us to build upon. We are the envy of many states, and that is due in large part to your exceptional leadership. Thank you for your service and for your friendship.

That man I told you about that settled with his family on the banks of the Cumberland River the year that this state was founded — his name was Charles Braxton Lee.

He was my seventh great grandfather.

We stand here today as the beneficiaries not of great governments of the past–but of the lives of the great men and women who have come before us.

Men and women who forged difficult lives on the frontier, formed small towns, and eventually, larger cities. People who cleared the land and planted crops, started businesses, worked in factories, formed industries.

Creating, as it says on our seal, a state of commerce and agriculture, a state which now stands as one of the most prosperous in the nation.

It did not simply happen, and it was never inevitable.

It happened because of men and women who came before us, who educated the children of Tennessee in one room school houses, and created our education system.

Men and women who cared for our sick on the frontier and then built clinics and hospitals and a healthcare system.

Men and women who protected us and built a system of law and justice, circuit riders who built a community of faith.

It happened because of men and women who struggled to overcome injustices and inequalities in our society … from slavery to suffrage to civil rights.

And it happened because men and women fought and sacrificed, sometimes their lives from the Revolutionary War, until today, defending and protecting the very freedoms that we enjoy today.

And most of all, it happened because of the favor of God Himself. In spite of our inadequacies and our weaknesses, He has been strong on our behalf. He has blessed us indeed. And as governor of Tennessee, I will daily ask Him for his wisdom, guidance, and direction.

We will need that wisdom, for despite the blessings we enjoy, we still face great challenges. Tennesseans, we stand in one of the great states in all of America.

But out greatness has never come from what any one individual did.

Our greatness has always come from the collective lives, service, commitment and sacrifice of those who came before us—because of what we have always done as a people together, in community with each other, in service to our state and to our neighbors.

Last year, Maria and I drove back and forth to every corner of Tennessee in an old RV, and we found out something: no matter whether you live in the mountains of East Tennessee, or the fields of West Tennessee, whether you live in a small town or downtown, people want the same thing: a good job, good school for their kids, and a safe neighborhood.

It’s true that we have good jobs and great prosperity here. We have record low unemployment and taxes. Companies are moving here and small businesses are starting here.

And yet, we also have 15 counties in poverty, all rural, all Tennesseans.

We have some of the most economically distressed zip codes in America — right in the heart of our greatest cities.

When we consider our state, we see how fortunate we are, and yet, we also see how much we have to do.

Not only do Tennesseans want a good job; they want good schools for their kids. We’ve made tremendous progress in education in this state — in part due to great education Governors who have come before me. In fact, Tennessee has the highest rate of improvement in educational outcomes in America. And yet, we’re still in the bottom half of states.

I believe that education is more than a test score — it’s about preparing a child for success in life. A resurgence of vocational, technical and agricultural education, and the inclusion of civics and character education, combined with reforms, will take Tennessee to the top tier of states.

Tennesseans do want good jobs and schools, but they want safe neighborhoods too. And while most neighborhoods are safe, our violent crime rate is on the rise in every major city. We can be tough on crime and smart on crime at the same time. For violent criminals and traffickers, justice should be swift and certain.

But here’s the reality, 95% of the people in prison today are coming out. And today in Tennessee, half of them commit crimes again and return to prison within the first three years. We need to help non-violent criminals re-enter society, and not re-enter prison.

I believe we can do it and create safer neighborhoods for everyone in Tennessee.

These are just a few examples of the challenges that we face, and there are other challenges we can’t ignore.

The opioid epidemic that is ravaging our state.

Too few Tennesseans have access to healthcare that they can afford. And our rural communities are struggling.

These are the challenges of our day, and history will judge us based on how we meet them.

As honored as I am to be your next governor, I know that no governor can solve all the problems we face—in fact, no government can.

Government is not the answer to our greatest challenges.

Government’s role is to protect our rights and our liberty and our freedom.

I believe in a limited government, that provides unlimited opportunity for we the people to address the greatest challenges of our day.

The truth is that most of the things that have created the greatness of Tennessee don’t have very much to do with government at all.

Our strength has always come from our people, people like those First Tennesseans, who came here with hope, who worked together to create this great state.

We are famous for our three grand divisions of East, Middle and West Tennessee, represented by the three stars on our flag. It is important however to remember that the blue circle around the three stars on our flag represents the unity of our state. I believe that Tennesseans have much more that unites us than divides us.

I believe that one way that we unite is by following the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. In fact, I believe it is the key to American greatness. Our greatness has never come from government compulsion or power. Our greatness has always come from our love for each other, our commitment to our fellow citizens, our neighbors.

If we remember that commandment and walk in that spirit, our greatest days will always lie before us.

So much has changed in the last 223 years, but some things haven’t changed at all.

Once again, here we are: Tennesseans, standing on the banks of the Cumberland, with great challenges and great opportunities before us — as in need of the Wisdom and favor of God as much as ever — and with a deep commitment to each other.

These last few months especially, I’ve thought a lot about Braxton Lee and those first Tennesseans.

I wonder what they told each other and how they dealt with their struggles. I think a lot about who they were.

They were strong and courageous. They were faithful. They were committed. They were certain.

They were Tennesseans.

I’ve also thought a lot about our descendants, seven generations from now. What will they say of us?

Were we strong and courageous, faithful, committed, certain? Did we come together to meet the challenges we faced, with courage, optimism and belief in each other?

If we meet the challenges of this moment, they too will say of us– “They were Tennesseans.”

Thank you for this great honor, may God bless each of you and may God Bless the great state of Tennessee.

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, January 16, 2019:

Link: https://www.tn.gov/twra/news/2019/1/18/cwd-update-given-at-first-tfwc-2019-meeting.html

NASHVILLE – The state veterinarian is advising horse owners of four cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Middle Tennessee.

Staff at the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory tested blood samples and determined that four horses stabled at a farm in Rutherford County were positive for EIA. Those horses were euthanized. Six other horses at the same farm tested negative, but will remain in quarantine until they can be tested a second time.

EIA is not contagious to humans. It is a blood-borne illness that can be fatal for horses. Symptoms may include fever, weakness, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic. However, an infected horse may not show any clinical signs. There is no treatment or vaccine. Once infected, a horse must be permanently quarantined or euthanized.

State law requires an annual Coggins test to check for the presence of EIA before any horse is transported from its home farm to a different location. Although that paperwork is valid for one year, horse owners may want to consider testing their livestock more frequently.

“EIA is a serious disease, with devastating consequences,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “Horse owners should do what they can to minimize risk—including regular testing, taking steps to safeguard against biting insects, and practicing good animal husbandry. As always, contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your livestock.”

Other tips include:

  • Don’t co-mingle your horse with other, unfamiliar horses.
  • Do not share needles or any other medical supplies that come into contact with blood.
  • Keep the area in and around your barn clean to reduce the fly population.

The C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory offers a full line of equine disease testing, including West Nile virus, equine infectious anemia, equine herpes virus, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, and equine influenza virus. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

PRESS RELEASE from the Tennessee Department Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, January 15, 2019:

Facility part of $200 million investment in state parks under Gov. Bill Haslam

SPENCER – Tennessee State Parks and elected officials today broke ground for a new inn, restaurant and conference center at Fall Creek Falls State Park, part of a broader $200 million investment in state parks over the last eight years by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration and the Tennessee General Assembly.

The facility at Fall Creek Falls is part of over $175 million in capital projects appropriated for state parks since 2011.

“This reinvestment in Tennessee’s most famous state park is indicative of similar reinvestments made from Memphis to Kingsport,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “Over $175 million in capital reinvestment is already paying back dividends through increased visitation, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.”

Tennessee’s state parks received more than 38 million visits in 2018, the highest recorded visitation ever. Tennessee State Parks have strategically, and selectively, added nearly 40,000 acres to state park and natural area holdings under the Haslam administration. The additions in the last eight years include three unique state parks – Cummins Falls State Park in Jackson County; Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park in Unicoi County; and Seven Islands State Birding Park in Knox County, bringing the current total of state parks to 56.

The state now manages or oversees more than 225,000 acres in Tennessee, one of the largest state park public land portfolios in the eastern United States.

Investments in the last eight years enhance rural economic development and have addressed a maintenance backlog and brought much-needed updates to the state’s hospitality assets – inns, conference centers, restaurants, marinas, campgrounds and cabins. Capital investments since 2011, with some projects funded but not yet completed, include:

  • New visitor centers at Fall Creek Falls, Bledsoe Creek, Cummins Falls, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork and Henry Horton state parks
  • New group camp at Booker T. Washington State Park and group camp renovation at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
  • Cabin renovations at Cumberland Mountain, Chickasaw, Standing Stone and Norris Dam state parks
  • Conversion of bathhouse at Cumberland Mountain State Park to an interpretive center
  • New pedestrian bridges at Cumberland Mountain State Park, Chickasaw State Park and Seven Islands State Birding Park.
  • New cabins at Reelfoot Lake and Pickwick Landing state parks
  • Inn renovations at Montgomery Bell, Pickwick Landing and Natchez Trace state parks
  • New inn at Paris Landing State Park
  • 13 campground renovations
  • ADA upgrades at four parks

Fall Creek Falls State Park has seen the renovation of 20 cabins and the refurbishment of an additional 10; renovation of Village Green buildings; installation of a new irrigation system at the golf course; renovation of the swimming pool and snack bar area; new playground area; roof replacements; restroom upgrades; and fresh paint.

At Fall Creek Falls, the new inn and restaurant are forecast to generate $278,000 per year in sales and occupancy taxes, a growth of $90,000 per year compared to revenue from the previous facility. Short-term, construction is expected to bring in an estimated $14.7 million in taxable spending to the area, along with more than 100 construction jobs.

The 98,000 sq. ft. facility is designed to reflect the natural setting of the park and will include three floors of visitor space with double rooms, king rooms and suites at the inn; indoor and outdoor gathering areas with larger meeting rooms for conferences; and paths connecting the facility to recreational trails at the park. The restaurant faces Fall Creek Lake, providing scenic views for diners.

The facilities at Fall Creek Falls are part of a robust number of state parks in the Upper Cumberland region, including Burgess Falls State Park; Cumberland Mountain State Park; Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park; Rock Island State Park; Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park; Standing Stone State Park; Cummins Falls State Park; Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park; Edgar Evins State Park; and Pickett CCC Memorial State Park.

PRESS RELEASE from the Nashville District Offics of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jan. 10, 2019:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2019) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is seeking individuals interested in 2019 Park Attendant contract positions across Tennessee and Kentucky.

A total of 21 contracts across the Cumberland River Basin are available for quote submission at seven Corps projects listed below.

  • J. Percy Priest Lake: Anderson Road Day Use, Cook Day Use, Seven Points Campground and Anderson Road Campground
  •  Old Hickory Lake: Cedar Creek Campground and Old Hickory Beach
  •  Lake Barkley: Bumpus Mills, Canal, Eureka, and Hurricane Creek Campgrounds
  • Cordell Hull Lake: Salt Lick and Defeated Creek Campgrounds
  • Center Hill Lake: Ragland Bottom, Long Branch and Floating Mill Campgrounds
  • Dale Hollow Lake: Dale Hollow Dam and Willow Grove Campgrounds
  • Lake Cumberland: Cumberland Point and Fall Creek Campgrounds

Gate attendants play a vital role at Corps of Engineers lakes by staffing the entrance fee booth, providing information to park visitors, assisting Corps staff, posting shelter reservations, maintaining quiet hours, and operating computer based park management system. For additional contract requirements performed by park attendant contractors, refer to the bid packet and work statement.

A full hookup campsite including water, sewer and electrical service is provided for the park attendant contractors selected. Contractors must provide their own self-contained camping unit and are required to reside in the campground on days of employment.

Prospective contractors must be registered in the System for Award Management and obtain a Unique Entity Identifier number (formerly DUNS) at www.sam.gov before submitting a quote. Solicitation is tentatively scheduled to be released Jan. 15, 2019 online at www.fbo.gov and can be located by entering W912P5-19 in the keyword/solicitation number field.

If you are unable to obtain the bid package from the internet or you have questions regarding a contract, please contact James Purcell, contract specialist, at james.w.purell@usace.army.mil or 615-736-7674.

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.