Tennessee panel gives green light to new Fall Creek Falls State Park inn, center

An older guest cabin is seen ahead of recently renovated guest cabins at Fall Creek Falls State Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Spencer, Tenn. A plan to demolish the park's existing inn and replace it with a new facility that is privately run has apparently been renewed, and the process would take more than 2 years.

NASHVILLE - The Haslam administration has received approval from the State Building Commission to rebuild the guest lodging at Fall Creek Falls State Park.

The plan is to tear down two existing facilities and build a single inn with about 85 rooms along with a new restaurant and conference center at the 26,000-acre park, long considered the "crown jewel" of Tennessee's state parks system, on the Upper Cumberland Plateau. The work is expected to take 1 1/2 to two years.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation would continue to operate the inn and restaurant. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam threw in the towel on his plan to outsource park hospitality in May after vendors twice showed no interest.

Job guarantees for those state workers and recompense for the loss of tax revenue have been two points of serious concern for local officials and lawmakers.