CROSSVILLE – A welcome center under construction in Crossville that will serve as a “gateway” to Big South Fork is about 90-95 percent complete, and officials say final occupancy should be granted sometime in February.
The recently renamed “Crossville-Cumberland County Visitors Center: The Gateway to the Big South Fork” has already been granted a temporary certificate of occupancy (CO). But the final CO won’t be given until some final touch ups – interior doors that need to be installed as well as the last of trim and tile work – are completed.
Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey says that should happen mid- to late-February.
“Right now we’re waiting on some interior doors that were backordered from the supplier. Other than that, everything’s pretty well done,” Carey said.
The county and city of Crossville will be sharing the center’s annual operating expenses – which has a total budgeted amount of $85,000 – and per a November agreement between the county and chamber, the chamber will manage the facility
It will be staffed by one full-time employee, and the goal is to direct interstate traffic to Big South Fork, one of the region’s top recreation areas, located roughly 70 miles away. The center is visible from I-40 off Cook Road. The National Park Service is also expected to supply a part-time worker at 16 hours per week, allowing the center to be open seven days per week.
Ashley Allen DeRossett with the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber said resumes have been collected for that full-time position but interviews have yet to be conducted.
“Once we get the final CO, the contract between Cumberland County government and the chamber will be executed,” DeRossett said. “It’s already been approved by both parties, but the contract states we cannot executive the document until the final CO is received. Once that happens, once we have the money, that’s when we will hire that individual. I’ve already requested resumes, and I have my recipients selected to interview, we just haven’t started the process due to the holdup on the doors.
“We’re kind of sitting still waiting,” she added. “We’re moving along; it’s been slow, but we’re getting there.”
Freitag Construction is acting as contractor after submitting a $605,800 bid. Carey said the project is running on budget; no change orders have been submitted.
Both Carey and DeRossett said a grand opening will likely take place in March.