A Kentucky House lawmaker is predicting the General Assembly will pass a bill allowing alcohol sales at many state parks.
House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark’s bill would give residents in precincts containing state park lodges or golf courses the ability to petition for an election allowing alcohol by the drink. Clark’s bill has passed out of a Senate committee, and the Louisville Democrat says Senate leaders have told him they believe the measure will make it through the legislature this session.
The Herald-Leader reports State Parks Commissioner and former Bowling Green mayor Elaine Walker said expanded alcohol sales at state parks and golf courses would be substantial.
The list of Kentucky State Resort Parks that do not serve alcohol includes Barren River Lake, Cumberland Falls, Dale Hollow Lake, Pennyrile Forest, and Rough River Dam.
Opponents of the bill say alcohol sales would interfere with the family-friendly atmospheres found at Kentucky’s state parks.
Workers at Kentucky's State Parks will continue full-time employment this winter. Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker says a 23 percent cut in staffing over the past seven years is a result of what she calls "right staffing. " The reduction was achieved through retirements and workers leaving the department.
Although, during recent winters, hours have been cut, this year workers can expect full hours through the off-season.
“With those modified hours, that means it gives some of our full time staff the ability to do some of the deep cleaning and fixing up that we need to do to make sure that in the spring when people start to come en mass to our parks, we put our best foot forward,” said Walker.
The state parks commissioner says the stable schedules for off season workers helps them maintain their household budgets.
The Kentucky Department of Parks wants to clear up some confusion concerning the federal government shutdown.
"All 49 Kentucky state parks are open during their regular business hours. That includes our campgrounds, restaurants, historic sites, our lodges and cabins, and all the other things people like to visit,” Parks Department spokesman Gil Lawson told WKU Public Radio.
Lawson says some state parks--such as Barren River Lake State Resort Park--sit on lakes administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While federally-run campgrounds at the parks may be closed due to the shudown, Lawson emphasizes that state campgrounds remain open for business.
He says federal and state-run parks often share similar names, which can confuse the public regarding which remain open during the ongoing impasse in Washington.
Officials in Boyle County are expected to meet this week with the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership about plans to take over a state park.
The Constitution Square State Historic site hasn't been staffed full time for several months. Boyle County Judge Executive Harold McKinney is confident that the County will be able to maintain the historic site, and increase its use by tourists and local residents.
This week's discussions are expected to focus on when the group will begin renovating and moving into many of the buildings on the perimeter of the park.