The 1.5 million demolition work will begin at Lakeshore Park on Monday, as crews raze nine surplus buildings that were once part of the state of Tennessee’s Lakeshore Mental Health Institute campus, the city announced in a new release today.
During the next nine months, nine of the largest buildings at Lakeshore Park will be taken down.
A patchwork of antiquated utilities – water, sewer, gas and electric lines – that in some cases predate World War II will be upgraded starting later this year.
In addition to the demolition and utility work, the City is renovating the historic Lakeshore Administration Building – a $1.1 million project that restores 14,115 square feet of space. This building was constructed in 1884 and overlooks much of Lakeshore Park.
All combined, the City will be spending about $5.2 million this year on infrastructure, demolition and other improvements at Lakeshore Park, setting the stage for private fundraising and implementation of an ambitious park master plan over the next two decades.
“We’ll really be able to start building this park up once these obstacles are removed,” said Joe Walsh, the City’s Parks and Recreation Director. “We’ll have a blank canvas to work with.”
The City’s infrastructure and demolition work will leverage grants and private fundraising by the nonprofit Lakeshore Park Inc. as pieces of the sweeping park master plan are put into place over the next 20 years.
For example, one of the planned park improvements outlined in the master plan will be a near doubling in length of the Lakeshore Park Greenway, from 2.25 miles to over 4 miles.
The City’s current round of work will remove unsafe buildings that attract vagrants and trespassers, with utility services at the park to be modernized in the coming year. But aesthetic improvement – creating open, natural areas in Lakeshore Park – is another big part of why the City is investing in these projects.
Five former state-owned buildings will remain at Lakeshore Park: Two cottages, the Administration Building, the chapel and a central services warehouse.
You can check out the Lakeshore Park master plan or see the results of a survey of more than 500 park users on their redevelopment preferences RIGHT SMACK HERE and HERE.