Dandridge Dock Project

Dandridge, Tennessee

The town of Dandridge is situated at the base of the Smoky Mountains along the shores of Douglas Lake, a mountain lake segment of the French Broad River. The lake and historic downtown Dandridge serve as the primary amenities and economic engines for this community. As Tennessee’s second oldest town and county seat of Jefferson County, Dandridge saw an opportunity to leverage its two most important assets by constructing a new bridge across the lake.

Town leaders invested in the 2015 Dandridge Tennessee Waterfront Master Plan and created a new shared vision for the community’s successful future growth and development. The plan proposed reconnecting the lakefront and historic downtown business district to position the town to compete for new investment and development opportunities.

Dandridge leaders had successfully recruited professional fishing tournaments and saw the potential to create new lakefront amenities for both residents, tourists and fishing tournaments. Town leaders built key partnerships with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, community leaders, and residents, which created strong community buy-in and commitment of resources for successful implementation.

The Dandridge Dock was the first component of the Waterfront Master Plan constructed in 2016 - 2017. The first phase of the new public dock was 648 feet long, ADA compliant, accommodated up to 75 boats at summer lake depths and allowed the community to meet growing tournament capacity opportunities. In October of 2016, Dandridge was awarded a TNECD Tourism Enhancement Grant of $50,000 and added electrical service and 20 boat slips designed to be in the water year round for dock usage during winter lake depths. This addition expanded Dandridge’s ability to host tournaments year round and not just in high water seasons.

Economic Impact

The new Dandridge Dock has increased the number and size of professional fishing tournaments and community events, providing an immediate economic impact. The combined projected revenue from fishing tournaments at the Dandridge Dock and Douglas Lake between September 2017 and September 2018 is nearly $2.9 million*. Through the dock project and future investments in their lakeshore and historic downtown assets, town leaders are capitalizing on new economic development through sales and occupancy tax revenues, while improving the quality of life for residents and sustaining Dandridge’s unique sense of community. First year project results include:

Total Events 12
Total Partcipants 3210
Event Staff 129
Accomodation Revenues $962,556.00 (2,940 Participants - Staying Overnight for 4 Hotel Nights at @$81.85 per night)
Food Revenues $425,565.00 (2,940 Participants Staying Overnight for 4 Nights @ $35.00 per day and 399 Participants NOT Staying Overnight @$35.00 per day)
Gas Revenues $1,229,430.00 (1,605 Boats and Vehicles - Staying on the Water for 4 days @ $191.50 Daily Gas and Oil Expenditures)
Miscellaneous Revenues $243.180.00 (2,940 Participants – Staying 4 Days and 399 Participants for 1 Day @ $20 per day for tackle, personal items, etc)
TOTAL FIRST YEAR REVENUE $2,860,731.00 (Projected September 2017 - September 2018)


Project Funding

The Town of Dandridge leveraged local and state funding for construction of this project including a new state approved 2% Occupancy Tax, local sources, and TNECED Tourism Enhancement Grant to cover total project construction at no cost to local residents.  Project funding sources include:

Town of Dandridge $575,000.00 (local investments for 75 summer pool boat slips and first phase dock construction) 
2% Occupancy Tax Revenues 
$110,000.00 (projected annual revenue used for construction cash and bond payments)    
TNECD Tourism Grant       
$50,000.00 (22 winter pool boat slips and electricity for second phase year round tournaments)    
TOTAL PROJECT FUNDING $625,000 (Projected local investments, annual occupancy tax revenues, grant funding)    


Project Leadership and Partners  

Town of Dandridge – Town Administrator - Project Contact
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tennessee Department of Tourism Development
Main Street Dandridge
Thompson Engineering
Town of Dandridge Waterfront Master Plan Working Group

For more project information visit the Town of Dandridge website at www.townofdandridge.com


TNECD and TDTD Tourism Enhancement Grant Program

Tourism is one of the largest industries and most important economic drivers in Tennessee.  The Tennessee Tourism Enhancement Grant was developed to help communities improve their tourism assets and increase tourism-related economic impact through the Governor’s Rural Task Force and Tennessee Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016.

For more information visit the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development,  Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.