Crumbling infrastructure a challenge for Kentucky's state parks

09/29/2015 07:04 PM

Kentucky’s State Parks are showing the signs of years of budget cuts which has led to deferred maintenance and aging infrastructure which has led to a loss of revenue at some parks and a reduction of operating days at many others.

The parks have 400 less employees that in 2007, but those employees are still doing all of the work that was done eight years ago.

Department of Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker says that her employees tend to wear a lot of hats.

“I’ve got staff that are doing two or three jobs,” Walker said.

Another challenge has been to provide high-speed internet at many of the state resort parks. It’s something that today’s traveler wants and expects.

It’s estimated that it will cost $6 million in cable infrastructure planning and improvement and $3 million in technology upgrades to remedy the situation.

Park officials estimate that $190 million would be needed to address general maintenance issues and to replace aging infrastructure. It would take an additional $50 million to address modest improvements to the infrastructure.

The Kentucky State Parks system brings $50 million in receipts annually. An analysis showed that in 2014; the economic impact of Kentucky State Parks state-wide was $889,049,000, with a local county impact of $680,002,957.

Kentucky has 17 resort parks with lodges, 21 recreation parks and 11 historic sites for a total of 49.

The agency manages over 1600 facilities on 45,000 acres of land. It includes 26 wastewater treatment plants and 182 miles of blacktopped roadways.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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