Donor gives $2.2 million for park centers - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Donor gives $2.2 million for park centers

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has received one of its largest cash donations ever, a $2.2 million gift from an anonymous donor.

The money will be used to pay off an existing construction loan that funded the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The center near the park's Cherokee, N.C., border, opened in 2011.

Money from the gift will also be used toward a new loan to help construct the 13,000-square-foot Collections Preservation Center scheduled to be finished in fall 2015.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports ( ) the money will be directed through the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a nonprofit organization that supports the park's educational, scientific and preservation efforts.

Terry Maddox, executive director of the association, says the anonymous donor loves the national park.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel,

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