Knox County estimates more than $150K in storm damage to The Cove

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hundreds of downed trees, smashed benches and downed power lines litter one of Knox County’s most popular parks.

Mike Donila, a spokesperson for Knox County Parks and Recreation, said storm damage from Saturday’s storms is estimated to cost between $150,000 and $200,000 in cleanup and repairs at The Cove. Donila said the county hopes to have The Cove opened by June 17 for dragon boat racing.

In the meantime, other events, like free fishing day and the concert at the Cove on June 10, were canceled.

“The Knox County Parks and Recreation Department wants to thank everyone for their kind words and requests to volunteer,” said Donila. “Right now, however, it’s too dangerous to have folks out there.”

The Legacy Parks Foundation, a non-profit that works closely with city and county parks, has set up a fund to help.

More: Donate to the Concord Park Fund

“So many people have wanted to support the park and calling wanting to be involved. So we have started a fund,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director Legacy Parks Foundation. “”This is a way to help restore the park more quickly so we can get the park back open.”

Chuck James, deputy director of Knox County Parks and Recreation, said the playground was damaged at the park, which will cost at least $10,000 to repair. Several benches that cost $1,500 apiece were damaged by trees that fell.

“We’re just asking people not to try to come up on the property itself because there are some downed lines and we think they are all dead, but we are not sure. We are waiting on LCUB to come and check one other section and then we will work to get it cleaned up.”

James said while it is sad to see the damage at the park, he is glad the damage didn’t happen at one of the nearby subdivisions.

River Sports Building at The Cove

Ed McAlister with River Sports Outfitters said it was a shock seeing the damage.

“We missed our biggest weekend of the year,” said McAlister. “We geared up, we had stocked the store to the hilt and we were ready, staff was on board, but we don’t know now when we will reopen.”

Fortunately, McAlister said there was little damage to their building at The Cove. Winds damaged the overhang over the building, but none of their boats or gear were damaged. He said River Sports is bringing in engineers to make sure the building is safe before use.

While clean up should start any day, both River Sports and the park will be closed.

“We have a lot of big groups that are coming out there, that are already booked, and we’ve got to juggle around,” said McAlister.

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