The National Parks Conservation Association (NCPA), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, recently released a report that identifies “shovel-ready” projects in national parks across the country.
For the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the report suggests that the federal government invest $4.2 million for updating restrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for handicapped use, according to the Smoky Mountain Times, Bryson City, N.C.
According to the report, only 17 of the 94 comfort stations or restrooms in the GSMNP currently meet ADA requirements.
Greg Kidd, program manager for the NCPA Blue Ridge Field Office, said there is a good chance the park will receive extra funding if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passes through Congress. The first version of the bill was passed by the House of Representatives, and as of Wednesday was under consideration by the Senate.
Park spokesman Bob Miller said updating the restrooms is not the only project the park has in mind if the stimulus bill passes. He said the park has requested a total of $14 million, and other “shovel-ready” projects include water and wastewater systems for campgrounds, repaving campgrounds and a significant amount of trail work.
Miller said he didn’t know how many jobs may be created.
“I think if the stimulus bill passes, we will certainly receive some money,” Miller said. “It’s a question of what’s actually in the package by the time it clears congress and gets signed by the president.”