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Kentucky Parks Commissioner seeking budget support for facility and recreational upgrades

Kentucky State Capitol
Stu Johnson
Kentucky State Capitol

The Kentucky House has adopted its version of a two-year state budget. Still to be determined is what will be in a Senate budget plan. One of many interested onlookers is the head of Kentucky state parks.

Commissioner Russ Meyer said state parks and their facilities were heavily relied upon during COVID, tornado, and flooding times. Meyer said there are infrastructure needs like heating and water service as well as accommodation upgrades. And then there are recreational issues. He cited the manually operated irrigation system at the Kentucky Dam Village golf course.

“You know in this budget we want to see timer operated up to date operation that’s not as labor intensive. And it was save the bottom line,” said Meyer.

Meyer said the House-backed budget calls for parks funding about $72 million less than the governor’s plan. The state parks leader hopes some of that difference can be made up in the Senate version.

Meyer said state dollars over the years have helped, but still not able to keep up with facility needs.

“Parks are 30 40 years behind of highly necessary funding that we need for our building system improvements, which is basically the infrastructure of your parks, your accommodations,” said Meyer.

Meyer noted eight to nine pools have been closed due to poor conditions. He added about $12 million is proposed to address those needs. Meyer said State Parks are also celebrating 100 years of service during 2024. Special activities are planned at individual parks as well as a Frankfort event in July.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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