The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has released renderings for the new 95,700+ square foot inn, restaurant and conference center at Fall Creek Falls State Park.
“This design provides the amenities our visitors have come to expect in a way that complements the one-of-a-kind backdrop that is Fall Creek Falls,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.
“The new inn, restaurant and conference center will serve as a symbol of the commitment by Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly to revitalize our state park system and sustain rural economic development for the future.”
The early design phase, which was approved by the State Building Commission on June 14, evokes the natural setting of the park, with timber framing, stonework details and extended height windows.
Highlights include three floors of visitor space complete with a mix of doubles, kings and suites; various indoor and outdoor gathering areas including larger meeting and conference space; and paths connecting the facility to existing recreational trails.
“The inn is designed to provide spacious views of the lake and of the park’s natural forest that will evoke long-lasting memories for visitors,” said Earl Swensson Associates’ Ron Lustig, principal-in-charge of the project. “We are honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the experience of nature at one of the state’s premier parks.”
The restaurant will face out towards Fall Creek Lake, providing scenic waterside views with updated options including full-service, fast-casual and buffet. Guests can enjoy a dining area on the terrace, banquet space and a bar/lounge.
The $29.4 million facility will enhance visitors’ experience and serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.
“This is great news for Fall Creek Falls State Park, which is the premier park for Tennessee and an economic driver for Van Buren County,” said Rep. Cameron Sexton. “The addition of a new inn, with the other $15 million in upgrades and 1.6 million annual visitors, will move the park from a one-day family trip to a weekend or week-long family getaway.”
“Fall Creek Falls is a Tennessee treasure for local citizens and visitors alike and the jewel of our state park system,” said Senator Paul Bailey. “It is an impressive piece of our state’s exceptional landscape and I’m proud that we were able to make this investment to enrich our community for many generations to come.”
The new inn and restaurant is forecasted 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. In the short term, construction activity will bring an estimated $14.7 million in construction-related taxable spending to the area along with more than 100 construction jobs.
Construction is slated to begin this fall/winter, with completion expected in 2020.