Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says Tennessee’s state government is considering buying an 8,600-acre tract in Johnson County with hopes of developing a “multi-use park for tourism purposes.”
The property, located on Doe Mountain, was a planned residential community that fell through after the developer passed away, Ramsey said.
“They are in bankruptcy now, and we are working with The Nature Conservancy and others to help purchase the property and develop it for ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), mountain biking and hiking,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, said of the venture. “We have to see what we can do to take advantage of Mountain City’s (the county seat of Johnson County) natural beauty, and I think this is something that can happen. ... I do believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Nature Conservancy is currently doing a feasibility study examining uses for the property, said Ramsey. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, recently visited Mountain City with Ramsey.
“The word is out (about the venture). ... When the governor was there, several people asked about it,” said Ramsey, who as a state senator represents Johnson County.
Ramsey suggested The Nature Conservancy could buy the property, and then the state could acquire it over two or three payments similar to large land acquisitions conducted during the administration of Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Ramsey said the property has been appraised at $17 million but could go for about $8.5 million.