The improved Cummins Falls Overlook is nearing completion, shooting for a January opening date.
Cummins Falls Park Manager Ray Cutcher said all that is left is to add the handicap access to the overlook. He said they also still have to level out the area where you approach the deck. He said the 22-foot-wide deck now sticks out farther over the falls, providing visitors with a better view than before.
“Your angles can be a little different too from what they were,” Cutcher said. “Before you just had that little small spot. So, it’s a great view. As I said before, people with disabilities, if they had mobility issues they couldn’t see the waterfall at all. Now they’ll be able to get out there and have a great view of the waterfall just like everybody else.”
The project was started in April of 2022 with an original goal to complete the project by that fall. Cutcher said the biggest obstacle the project faced was funding.
He said a TDEC grant paid for 80 percent of the project, and they had to come up with 20 percent. Friends of Cummins Falls helped with the funding process.
“Our friends group, Friends of Cummins Falls State Park, secured an RTP grant, and I guess the process was kind of long, and it took a little time to get through some of that,” Cutcher said. “That was probably the biggest obstacle.”
Cutcher said he hopes to have the project done in January. The project has to be done in February to meet the grant requirements.
“I’m just very excited about it,” Cutcher said. “It’s been in the works for quite some time. We had this idea several years ago, and I’m just excited it’s coming into fruition and that everybody will be able to get out and view the waterfall now.”
Cutcher said the old overlook was too rugged and this will be a huge upgrade.
“It’s always been really small,” Cutcher said. “Only one or two people could get there to view the waterfall at a time, and it also was kind of rugged. You had to be able to negotiate some roots and step down hill. It wasn’t level at all. So, people with mobility issues especially people in wheelchairs just could not get there and view the waterfall. With all those things combined, early on we decided we needed a nice observation deck.”