WKU Public Radio News Staff
Mon January 20, 2014
Two Kentucky Lawmakers Want to Allow Private Development on Some Public Land, Including State Parks
Two Kentucky lawmakers are supporting a bill that would let the state lease public land for private development.
Under legislation from Republican Representatives Richard Heath and Ken Imes, hotels and other private developments could be built in public parks, with the state's permission.
But Imes says the bill isn’t about privatization.
“We’re not trying to privatize parks. Basically, I like to use the word ‘franchise.’ What I’m trying to do is save our parks system in Kentucky. It’s deteriorating rapidly through nobody’s fault other than we just can’t keep ‘em up.”
The previous state budget slashed the parks budget by over eight percent, which led to shorter park operating hours across the commonwealth.
Imes says his bill could open the door to private management of some state parks, which he says would reduce their operating cost to taxpayers.