Discovery Park almost complete, CEO pushing for October opening


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

UNION CITY, Tenn. - The Discovery Park boasts 100,000 square feet of open space, but just as large says CEO Jim Rippy, is the gamble to keep it open. 

"It's very big because a facility like this would normally be Chicago, Atlanta, New York," he said.

The groundbreaking for the park began before the Goodyear plant shutdown, but Rippy said that plant closure put a dent in Union City's economy.  "When they closed, it was a real blow to us," Rippy said.

But the city is turning a new page and he hopes the park is the answer.  Included on the property is a 100 year old church, 16 log structures, a one room school house and an antique tractor barn.

"Our number one goal is education and we want to make it entertaining when they get that education," Rippy said.

Inside features 10 galleries including areas for military, Native American, space and transportation exhibits. "It's like having a Smithsonian in your backyard," he said.

Rippy knows the challenge will be to keep the doors open, so he's promising a one of a kind experience.

"Our whole goal here is to make it fun for people to come, want them to come back," he said.