State Senator Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, has filed a bill tied to the future of land that holds the former Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.
The state has been in the process of transferring Lakeshore to the city of Knoxville for a number of years.
According to the City of Knoxville, the state still owns about 65 acres.
Sen. Campfield wants to ensure the city does not receive the property for less than it's worth.
He filed a bill on Wednesday that would put the land up for public auction.
"Instead of just directly offering the land to the city for say a dollar, why don't we put it up for public bid, divide up the land and offer it out. And say, 'Who wants this land? What's the value of it?'" Sen. Campfield said.
Nearly 20 years ago the state agreed to offer the property first to the city.
Sen. Campfield said that would not change.
However, it would go to the highest bidder if the city chose not to outbid.
In a statement, Mayor Madeline Rogero said, "I strongly disagree with Senator Campfield's proposal... The city has already invested substantially in Lakeshore Park."
She went on to say, "This proposed legislation would damage a highly-used and treasured city park."
According to Lakeshore Park, about 3,000 people use the park every day.
Sen. Campfield said money raised from the auction would benefit mental health organizations in east Tennessee.
"We're talking millions, millions of dollars that could be kept in east Tennessee in mental health, an area that has been sorely underfunded and had their budget cut for years," Sen. Campfield said.
He said he plans on moving forward with the bill as soon as possible.
To access the bill: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/108/Bill/SB1243.pdf.
City of Knoxville leaders are not happy with a proposal by State Senator Stacey Campfield to auction off the former Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.
According to Campfield, the legislation would allow the state to hold at open auction of the property. The City would have the option to beat the highest bidder by $1 and purchase the property. However, if the City refused, the property would go to the highest bidder.
Campfield says the proceeds from the sale of the property would go to mental health programs.
In response to Campfield's proposal, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero says, "I strongly disagree with Senator Campfield's proposal to sell off state land at Lakeshore. The City of Knoxville has a longstanding agreement with the state about the transfer of Lakeshore to the City, which will protect the land as a public asset for generations to come. This transfer has been underway for a number of years and the city has already invested substantially in Lakeshore Park. Senator Campfield has had no conversations with the City administration about his proposal, and we strongly oppose it.
This proposed legislation would damage a highly-used and treasured City park, which is open for all Knoxvillians to enjoy. In addition, it would be bad policy to limit the state's ability to choose the best manner by which to dispose of any of its surplus property."
We will have more on this story on 10News at 5.