New inn plans shown

Schematic drawings of the planned new inn at Paris Landing State Park are seen. The bottom drawing shows the new design, with 25 new rooms that were added to the plans recently.

The new inn at Paris Landing State Park is now expected to be completed in April 2021, according to state Rep. Bruce Griffey.

Griffey, R-Paris, said Wednesday morning that he and Henry County Mayor Brent Greer met this week with state officials in Nashville, resulting in the completion date being accelerated by four months.

Local officials have been concerned that the project has been delayed, thus adding to the amount of time that Henry County is without an inn at Kentucky Lake.

The original plan was to have the inn completed by summer of 2020, but with the addition of about two dozen more rooms to the project, it’s taking more time at the state level for the review process to get done, and the expected opening date had been pushed back to August 2021.

“Unfortunately, there have been delays with the project as a result of PCB remediation — essentially environmental cleanup resulting from the demolition (of the old inn),” Griffey said.

Those delays had pushed the expected opening date back by more than a year, which would have cost the county almost an entire extra summer of lost tax and tourism revenues.

Griffey said the state agreed this week to a new, accelerated construction schedule. If it opens in April 2021 as now expected, it will be in time for the World’s Biggest Fish Fry that year.

At the meeting, design plans and schematic drawings were reviewed for the additional 25 rooms that were added to the project this spring, bringing the room total to 90.

“I am pleased that state officials are listening, being responsive and prioritizing this important project vital to the economy of the 75th District,” Griffey said.

He said foundation dirt work is expected to begin this week with an official groundbreaking ceremony in November.

“Although I was against demolition of the old inn, favoring renovation for a number of reasons, the reality is that we now have an empty hole in the ground and I am determined to do anything and everything I can do to get the new inn erected and opened as quickly as possible,” Griffey said. “I intend to keep pushing to try and keep this project on track.”

Included in this week’s meeting were Christi Branscom, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of General Services; officials of Doster Construction, the contractor for the new inn; Patrick Neuber, the architect for the project; members of the state Building Commission; Secretary of State Tre Hargett; state Treasurer David Lillard; state Comptroller Justin Wilson; and officials with the state Department of Environment and Conservation.

The cost of the project is now estimated at $34.47 million. That includes $8.47 million that was added to the plans in Gov. Bill Lee’s budget this year when the decision was made to add rooms.

The former inn at PLSP has been torn down. It contained 130 rooms, but it was plagued by a low occupancy rate — it was only about 31 percent full as an annual average.

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