Through a series of planning sessions conducted by the Northwest Tennessee Development District (NWTDD) for the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council, a new amphitheater and an expansion/upgrade to the State Park Visitor Center were identified as the highest priorities towards the enhancement of tourism efforts at Reelfoot Lake. As tourism is a major portion of the business industry for the counties surrounding Reelfoot Lake, these needs are determined essential to support economic development in the area. Additionally, support by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for the establishment of the two identified needs would compliment the on-going efforts of local residents and businesses towards catering to a wider audience than the traditional sportsperson.
By request, the Tennessee Valley Authority created a conceptual rendering of the desired amphitheater to be located on Reelfoot Lake . Two potential tracts of land have been identified in the State Park vicinity that are available for consideration. The proposed amphitheater will be 9,900 square feet and have a roof canopy of 9,200 square feet. The stage area will project out beyond the roof canopy to give the audience a closer feel to the entertainers. One wing of the stage area will house the scenery shop and storage facility. On the opposite end, there will be tow dressing rooms ( men and women ) and a wardrobe room. A separate concession stand will be 3,500 square feet and contain food and refreshments, as well as a ticket office, first aid room, and large men and women restrooms. Additional restrooms will be located on the opposite end of the concession area.
An expansion/upgrade to the Reelfoot Lake State Park Visitors Center was identified as a priority not only through the planning sessions this year, but was also included in the Park Manager's annual budget request to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. This request is considered a capital project by the TDEC. The request is to construct an addition to the Visitor Center to house the Kirby Pocket Exhibit, improve and expand the Discovery Room Live Animal Exhibit, and expand the retail sales lobby area. The need is evidenced by the amount of visitors to the Visitor Center each year numbering close to 150,000 annually. The number of visitors to the Kirby Pocket area is half that of the Visitor Center due to its location. In addition, improving and expanding the Discovery Room would help accommodate the large number of visitors and school groups who attend the nature programs.