Smokies’ aging infrastructure needs $240 million to upgrade

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has more than $240 million in construction projects that have been postponed because the money has not been allocated.

Park spokesman Brent Everitt told WBIR-TV ( the park headquarters is more than 75 years old and needs a lot of upgrades, but a planned $7 million rehabilitation has been continually put off for about 25 years.

Next door, the Sugarlands Visitor Center needs $24 million so it can be torn down and completely rebuilt to handle the million tourists who go through its doors each year. Another $180 million of repairs are needed for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure like bathrooms.

Everitt said the park tries to get by with small fixes that keep things running, but they can only last for so long.