Progress is being made on the City of Knoxville's efforts to transform one of its biggest parks.
The state handed control of Lakeshore Park to Knoxville last summer. Soon after, the city and a private council unveiled plans to bring new amenities to that area.
WBIR 10News learned Wednesday a number of developments have happened in the park since then.
Previous Story: City unveils future plans for Lakeshore Park
Crews are already working to preserve the historic Administration Building at the center of the park. The city wants to keep it for office space.
"That area's all fenced off and the contractor's mobilized on-site," said Knoxville Public Service Director David Brace. "That's a huge step."
Inmates from the Knox County Sheriff's Office are also clearing invasive brushes between the river and walking trails. The move has opened up the view to the river at certain parts of the trails.
City of Knoxville: Spring 2014 Lakeshore Park Update
Brace said the city also plans to take up some of the fence in those locations as well.
"There's a lot of activity at Lakeshore and I know folks are excited about it," he said.
The city is working to find a contractor who remove of the park's bigger buildings too. Earlier this month, more than 10 contractors attended a pre-bid meeting to learn more about the city's demolition plans.
By July, the city hopes to have a contract in place with a company who can do the work. After that, bulldozers can finally start moving in.
While the chapel will stay in place at the park, the city recently decided a number of other iconic structures will be removed. The cafeteria and steamplant will both be removed.
The city is still planning and designing many of the park improvements included in Phase One of the Lakeshore Park plan:
[From the City of Knoxville]
- The universal playground and adjacent parking lot in Sector 8 – River Ball Fields
- The driveway and large parking lot providing access and parking to the 28 acre Section 4 –Central East, including the opening of access and views to the Tennessee River
- Removal of fencing and renovation of the existing walking trail along the Tennessee River in Sector 3 -- Riverwalk
- Construction of a new extension of the walking trail along the Fourth Creek embayment of Fort Loudon Lake in Sector 1 – Northshore
No date has been announced as to when these projects may be completed.
In the end, the entire Lakeshore Park project could cost between $40 to $50 million and be funded through a mix of private and public dollars.
Deputy Mayor Christi Branscom advise parkgoers to use caution in the park around July. She said heavy equipment will come into the park to remove buildings. Branscom added no existing playgrounds or fields will be closed.