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Kentucky State Park Land Development Proposed

American Byways

Two western 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.” –Ken Imes

The previous state budget slashed the parks budget by over eight percent, which led to shorter park operating hours across the state. 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.

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