Tennessee governor to drop privatization push at state parks

Panther Creek State Park

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is dropping efforts to outsource management of Tennessee’s state parks and will let his successor decide whether to renew the privatization attempt.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau told lawmakers Thursday he will focus on using more than $100 million previously approved over the last few years to address capital needs at state parks.

This spring, no one bid on the proposal to outsource hospitality services at Fall Creek Falls State Park and tear down its inn and build a new one.

Martineau said he thinks the lack of bids resulted from expensive asbestos removal mitigation that the inn would require.

In 2015, outsourcing plans at 11 state parks likewise yielded no interest from private vendors.

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