While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to solicit suggestions from private companies to rent 280 acres of Cook Recreation Area, concerned residents have started making a mass campaign to express their opposition against plans by the Corps of Engineers, a report said.
“People who are interested in the well-being of nature and the people’s opportunity to get to Cook Recreation Area are people who should be concerned that the Corps keep the property under their management and not lease it for who knows what,” Dr. Anderson Clark, a resident, said.
“We would like to keep Cook’s under the Corps’ provision, especially for the people.”
Clark and hundreds of other lakeside dwellers are worried that the commercial lease in the Cook Recreation Area would bring additional traffic into their community. They are also worried that it may destroy nature, eradicate free-use areas, and create more dangers on the narrow, public road where sidewalks are almost absent.
“There is a great need for the preservation of green areas in nature and for keeping the area free or low cost to be enjoyed by all socioeconomic groups,” Clark said.
After the September 8 publication of the Notice of Availability For Lease, the Corps moved to the next stage by soliciting proposals from the private sector for redeveloping and operating concessions for recreation at Cook’s.
Private companies that submit their proposals for lease will agree to provide the public with high-quality amenities and services to enjoy their leisure at affordable costs to satisfy the public need. At the same time allowing the entrepreneurs to earn a fair amount of profits as well, the Corps declared.
Development plans for the area might include the renovation of the campgrounds, including a camp store, pool area, restroom and shower facilities, playgrounds, a dog park, hiking trails and dog-friendly trails, cafe/eatery/snack bar facilities, a day-use area, picnic areas, a swimming area, multi-lane boat ramps, courtesy docks, kayak/canoe rentals, outdoor classroom facilities, and other related activities.
However, the Corps stated that the plan does not allow for any additional water theme-park or marina-like proposals for Cook similar to the Nashville Shores and Elm Hill Marina facilities.
The Corps is contemplating three lease options for the Cook Recreation Area. It could consist of advertisements for Cook Recreation Area for lease, advertising Cook Recreation Area for lease with limitations to reduce environmental impact, or removing leasing advertising and managing the area through operating and maintenance funds.