Knoxville residents got an in-depth look Monday night at plans to transform a popular city park.
The State of Tennessee handed control of Lakeshore Park to the City of Knoxville this summer, after the closure of the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute in 2012.
After months of research and public input, city leaders unveiled the new master plan for the 180 acre park, which includes more parking, more views of the Tennessee river, and the addition of a natural amphitheater. Planners have also talked about installing a dog park and maybe even having a farmers market.
"We just want to see the park get to this state as quickly as it possibly could," said Roger Williams, who was excited about the possibility of having new soccer fields be installed too.
Nearby resident Gene Overholt said he liked parts of the plan too.
"The plan has improved greatly over what it was some 10 years ago, there's more trails for the public, more activity grounds for the public, more views for the public," he said. "I think it's significantly improved."
But, he asked the city be mindful to prevent any possible noise and light pollution that could come from the project. He also thinks more security could be needed.
"I think safety and security are essential," he said.
Over the next 30 days, more public comment will be taken on the new master plan. After that, both Mayor Madeline Rogero and the city council will vote on whether to approve the plan.
At this time, the project has no definite price tag. The Lakeshore Park Inc. Board said it hopes to start fundraising in the private sector soon.
The City of Knoxville also said it hopes to demolish 13 buildings on the Lakeshore campus this summer. Knoxville Parks and Recreation Director John Walsh said the city plans to have contract crews inspect some of the buildings for molds and asbestos.
At the meeting he said he was hopeful the demolition aspect of the project could be bid out to a company soon after.
"We're just excited about this," Walsh said of the master plan. "Because, it's got such great possibilities."
You can see the plans here, and check back later to hear public reaction to the city's plans.