Kentucky Makes $50 Million Investment in ‘Refreshing the Finest’ Initiative
Announcing $50 million in infrastructure projects to bolster and make improvements to Kentucky State Parks, Gov. Matt Bevin ceremonially signed House Bill 268, a measure that made the parks funding possible.
The $50 million for parks was included in a bond issue approved earlier this year by Gov. Bevin and the 2019 General Assembly. The money will address the most critical needs within the parks system, which include improvements to wastewater treatment facilities, roof repair and replacement, utility improvements, communications systems and other state park upgrades.
“We are grateful to members of the General Assembly for allocating these additional funds to make vital upgrades to our state parks across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky is committed to ensuring that we continue to make our park system sparkle — to make it a true gem that people want to come back to visit for generations.”
Gov. Bevin made the announcement at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, one of the most popular parks in the state system. The park’s kitchen was recently renovated, and it will make improvements to its wastewater treatment plant are part of the bond issue projects. More than $1 million has been spent in improvements at Cumberland Falls since 2016.
Bevin was joined at Cumberland Falls by Senate President Robert Stivers, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Donald Parkinson and Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland.
“Our State Parks are treasures of this Commonwealth, and I am pleased we could get this measure passed in the Legislature to ensure safety and enhance the overall guest experience,” said President Stivers. “We appreciate all who helped with this effort, and we are excited for the future of Kentucky State Parks.”
The Bevin administration and lawmakers provided $18 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2018 in additional funding for state parks as part of the “Refreshing the Finest” campaign. Those projects included painting lodges, new roofs, safety upgrades and renovations to convention centers. The parks were facing more than $240 million in deferred maintenance needs at the beginning of the campaign.
Other state parks receiving upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities include Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park and Rough River Dam State Resort Park.
Parks receiving new or repaired roofs and other exterior repairs include Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Carter Caves State Resort Park, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.
Parks getting utility infrastructure upgrades include Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, General Butler State Resort Park, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site and Rough River Dam State Resort Park.
Communications and cabling system upgrades are planned at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, John James Audubon State Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park and Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park.
The park system plans to spend about $3.4 million in hospitality upgrades at several additional resort parks, with a focus on interior upgrades to items such as furniture, bedding, and painting.
Several other parks across the Commonwealth are scheduled to receive upgrades to their life safety systems and projects to assure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
(provided by Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor's Office)