New pavilion offers scenic view at Bays Mountain Park

Matthew Lane • Nov 6, 2017 at 9:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Bays Mountain Park has taken the old aviary site, which has been gone for more than a decade, and transformed it into something much more useful and scenic.

That “something” is the Pavilion at Lily Pad Cove, a multiuse wooden structure located on the water near the deer habitat and adjacent to the boat dock. 

“It’s where we used to house waterfowl, but after its usefulness was up and we tore the netting down, we left the boardwalk up and had always opened the area up for visitors to look out and enjoy,” said park manager Rob Cole. “It’s one of the more scenic places in the park, so this made a lot of sense to us.”

Project timeline

Construction on the pavilion started around the first of July and, weather permitting, should wrap up next week, Cole said. Workers had a good dry spell in the summer to get much of the work done, but there has been a fair share of rain lately, which could affect the final completion date.

The total cost of the pavilion is $245,000, with $200,000 coming from the city’s VEP (Visitor Enhancement Program) — a fund created specifically to finance tourism-related projects and purchases. A few years ago, the VEP covered the cost of the park’s new planetarium equipment.

Multiuse facility

The new pavilion will allow the park to host a number of programs and functions, from school field trips to weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, corporate events or other private functions.

Cole said the pavilion would accommodate 60 to 80 people comfortably and depending on the set-up, 100 people could use it. The rental fees have not been determined, and the pavilion will likely be available for rent early next year.

“We’re excited about the possibilities that exist with this new feature,” Cole said. “Regardless of time, it provides a breathtaking view. It’s scenic, a focal point of the park and very peaceful and quiet.”

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