$240 million needed to maintain and upgrade Kentucky's state parks

09/28/2015 07:05 PM

ROUGH RIVER DAM STATE PARK — Kentucky State Park officials say as much as $240 million is needed to maintain and upgrade aging state park facilities in the next 6-year budget cycle in 2016.

Kentucky State Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker painted the bleak picture for members of the Interim Committee of Tourism and Development on Monday at Rough River Dam State Resort Park.

“Our infrastructure continues to deteriorate,” Walker said. “We have power outages, loss of phone and internet service, outdated and crumbling water and sewer lines. They all represent long term budget challenges.”

The lack of high speed internet is costing state parks untold thousands of dollars.

“Lake Barkley is one of our major parks and we have two major trade organizations who have held conventions there for years,” Walker said. “They have finally moved their business out of that park because their guests could not make cellular or reliable wireless connections. Those two organizations alone have cost that park $80,000 each year.”

Walker also told committee members that that the parks are in the process of implementing a new Property Management System at all 17 resort parks which will dramatically improve the operations and connect the parks to internet travel sites which, in turn, will bring more visitors to the parks.

“The current system does not talk to these sites,” Walker said. “So, they actually defer our guests to our competitors.”

The system has been implemented at Natural Bridge and Jenny Wiley and the goal is to have all 17 resort parks on the system by February 2016. It’s estimated that the annual loss of business with the old system is as much as $1 million.


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