KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Warriors’ Path remains one of the most popular state parks in all of Tennessee. But in order to keep up with growing visitor demand, the park will be receiving some major updates worth over $6.4 million.
“We see 2 million to 2.4 million visitors per year, or visits per year,” said Sarah Leedy, Warriors’ Path State Park manager. “Consistently we’ve been hearing things like ‘your campsites aren’t big enough for today’s RVs, your marina is too small, we don’t know where the Visitor Center is, we don’t know where the park office is.'”
New upgrades will address all these concerns and more. Renderings by Elizabethton-based architecture firm Reedy and Sykes show the future of Warriors’ Path. The current recreation hall on Duck Island will be renovated into a brand new visitor center with office space for park staff, a gift shop, lobby, and rental assembly space.
“We’re going to be down here in the middle of the heart of the park, where our visitors can see us and they can find us when they need us,” said Leedy.
Another big change will be a brand new marina dock with covered boat slips, which will be much larger than the existing one. The new building will have a snack bar, gift shop, rentable space, and public restrooms.
Farther back in the woods, the Warriors’ Path overflow campground will be remade with 40 new paved RV campsites.
“Today’s new larger, modern RVs will be able to get in there. It’ll come especially in handy for Bristol race weekend. That’s when the demand for that really increases,” she said.
Aside from these three major upgrades, the park’s infrastructure will be updated with a new water main for fire protection. Improvements will also be made to shelters and tennis and basketball courts on Duck Island.
David Roberson, Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of of General Services, said the department expects to open bids for contractors later this year.
“We would expect to start construction in the first quarter of 2020,” said Roberson.
The park expects the upgrades to be finished by 2021. Leedy said visitors can soon anticipate seeing active construction when they come to the park. Visitors may have to park their cars a little further away from amenities than they are used to.
“It’s definitely going to be crowded. I just ask for the public’s patience with us as we get started,” she said.
However, the wait will be worth it in the end.
“We get to update the park, give it a face-lift,” said Leedy, who’s eager for visitors to be able to camp, boat, walk through, and enjoy these new areas. “We are the playground for the Tri-Cities and we just love it.”