KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One of Knoxville‘s largest public parks is closed due to storm damage and cleanup efforts have been slowed by a theft of tools from the park grounds.
The public is asked to avoid Lakeshore Park until further notice after storms ripped through the region Monday afternoon, causing widespread damage and power outages. The City of Knoxville reported that multiple trees are down across the 200+ acre park.
Tools owned by Lakeshore Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in charge of the management, preservation, and enhancement of the park, were stolen over the weekend. According to posts on the park’s social media pages, a locked gate to a storage area of the park was cut open and items including power tools were stolen.
A Knoxville Police Department spokesperson said a leaf blower and chainsaw with an estimated total value of around $650 were taken.
“The theft of our tools and supplies makes it extremely hard for our grounds crew of three to maintain the park,” reads a social media post from the park.
“Special thanks to the person(s) that stole all of our tools so now we have nothing to clean up the park with,” another post from the park reads. “We will share when it is safe to come to the park again.”
The park’s operating budget comes solely from donations and rentals. Those interested in donating to the park can do so at lakeshoreparkknoxville.org.
The park is owned by the City of Knoxville and managed by the Lakeshore Park Conservancy. It is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation funded largely by a $35 million donation from the Haslam family.
Anyone who may have information about the theft is asked to contact Lakeshore Park Conservancy and the Knoxville Police Department.