Demolition work set to start Monday at Lakeshore Park

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One the most popular parks in Knoxville is about to get a facelift.

Lakeshore Park currently offers more than a 150 acres for runners, walkers and man's best friend.

"You can't really appreciate what a beautiful park it will be until the buildings are gone,” says Parks and Recreation Director Joe Walsh.

Nine buildings that were once part of Tennessee's Lakeshore Mental Health Institute will be removed starting Monday morning.

"They're all being torn down except three. The one behind us, the chapel which is down there like a little church, we'll use that for wedding ceremonies, special events, and then there's the general services building as you come off of Northshore,” adds Walsh.

It's part of the city's plan to make Lakeshore one of the best parks in Knoxville, but some people already agree that it is.

Dylan Adams says, “It's a great park. There's spots where you can play in the grass, throw sticks for the dog, the track is great just to run around. I love it here."

An avid park goer, Angela Sullivan adds, “You can get an awesome work out just running up and down the hills. There's not too many other places in Knoxville that you can get that kind of work out and it's centrally located."

Walsh says the project will provide a clean slate for more features.

“There's several interactive playgrounds that we're excited about seeing happening. There will be additional soccer fields that will be created.”

Crews want to make sure the park is still usable through the process. There's only one building that will cause the green way to be closed for a few days.

Walsh adds, “It's a slow process, there's some very large buildings here, the abatement process will take the most amount of time getting all the material off site will take just a few months."

The project will cost around $5.2 million. That money is coming from the city's Capital Improvement Budget through Parks and Recreation. The work should be completed by next spring.

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