Pinky's Point is on its way to becoming an exclamation point on Hamilton County's map of tourism and recreation opportunities.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced the receipt of a $20,000 state grant Tuesday to spark the planning process for the wooded 250-acre parcel of lakefront property just south of Chester Frost Park that county officials hope to develop into an outdoor destination.
The county is matching the grant money, and Coppinger called the Pinky's Point project "an adventure," saying it was a jewel when he visited the location as a teenager.
"We think that once we finish with some of our consulting work, we'll see that this is definitely a win-win situation that the residents of Hamilton County benefit from, as well as visitors to our community," Coppinger said.
Pinky's Point is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and leased to the county on a month-by-month basis for $1, county General Services Director Lee Norris said.
While it's open for day use now and features mountain biking trails, it is not regularly maintained or programmed.
The county will meet with a consultant and formulate a five-year plan and present that to TVA with the hopes of negotiating a longer term lease.
Norris said the possibilities at Pinky's Point are vast, although TVA restrictions would prevent the construction of buildings other than bathrooms.
"We would like to include more boat ramps," he said. "One area may be primitive camping, another area may be developed camping, hiking trails, possibly more bike trails. Then we can get a little more esoteric and think about some type of rental cabin that is not fixed to a foundation — think tiny houses or something along that line.
"If you want to get far-fetched, tree houses (could be a possibility). When we sit down with a consultant, we're going to surface all these issues and all these different ways we can go. We'll pick and choose what we think is right for the area."
With Chester Frost Park receiving about 160,000 visitors per year, the new recreation area could alleviate some of the burden on the park's infrastructure.
"I've been around Lake Chickamauga, and that's probably one of the prettiest pieces of property I've seen," Norris said. "It's too pristine, too beautiful to go unused."
Contact staff writer David Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249.