BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Sullivan County commissioners rejected a resolution that would have ended the county’s lease at Observation Knob Park, but the park still faces challenges.

Some commissioners wanted to terminate the lease due to the cost of renovating the campground, which is on land leased to the county by the Tennessee Valley Authority. However, the resolution to terminate the lease failed to gain enough support during the commission’s meeting Thursday night.

Last month, Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable told campers to vacate the park by March 15 so that repairs could be made to the facility. He also announced significant changes, including fewer seasonal campground sites, more short-term sites, and increased fees.

Observation Knob Park in Sullivan County (WJHL)

Commissioner Cheryl Harvey said her proposal to terminate the lease was rooted in her concern for safety.

“That was the biggest concern is there are a number of liability, potential liability issues in running Observation Knob Park,” Harvey said.

She also said she is concerned about the impact on taxpayers if the county continues to run the park.

“If an entity came in to run it and they had been losing money in it like we had for several years, they would be bankrupt,” Harvey said. “They would not be putting more money into this money pit.”

Commissioners ultimately rejected her resolution in a 13–10 vote.

The county faces more pressure now with seasonal campsite sign-ups opening Monday.

Harvey said even though the lease with TVA doesn’t expire until 2025, the time to act is now.

“We can hopefully get a vote and move toward shutting down the campground and getting out of the campground business for Sullivan County,” Harvey said.

Harvey said she plans to propose the resolution again as soon as she can.