Bill Would Permit Private Companies To Develop State Park Property

Dec 16, 2013

A bill filed for the 2014 legislative session in Frankfort would allow private companies to lease and develop state park property.

State Rep. Kenny Imes of Murray, who is sponsoring the bill, says it would utilize unused and undeveloped property as a way of generating more revenue for the local and state economies.

"I think this serves several different purposes as far as relieving the burden on the state, enhancing the property for development, bringing tax dollars into the community," Imes says in an online interview.

Others, however, are approaching the plan cautiously.

"More development might not equal a greater benefit," says Kentucky Environmental Foundation’s Elizabeth Crow. Though she stresses she hasn’t seen the details of the bill and can’t speak for the organization, Crowe does hope lawmakers consider the simple value of the land when debating the bill.

"There is inherent value in the natural environment that can't always be measured in dollar amounts," she says.

Rep. Imes is confident the bill could bring in more tourists by providing lodging and dining where none currently exists while also creating a state parks system less reliant on taxpayer dollars.