Five Kentucky State Parks may soon gain a new tool that will help them increase revenue. Gil Lawson, spokesman for the state’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, told The Paducah Sun his office plans to apply for a liquor license to sell alcoholic beverages at five parks: Lake Barkley, Jenny Wiley, General Butler, Audubon State Park and My Old Kentucky Home. These state parks were strategically chosen as they all currently operate in “wet” counties, thus limiting the conflict from county residents.
This change comes at the recommendation of several studies completed in the last few years, which show that our state parks have not managed to create a sustainable business model. The park system needs increased revenue to become more self-supporting, and alcohol sales will help. Parks will now have the opportunity to draw large convention and meeting crowds who otherwise may have overlooked their facilities. The Chamber has been a long-time advocate of selling alcohol in state parks to promote economic activity and agreed with the governor when he made recommendations to allow alcohol sales in state parks earlier this year. In an op-ed in The Paducah Sun in January, President and CEO Dave Adkisson states this measure is only the beginning of reform for our state park system.
“This (alcohol sales) would be a good first step, but we encourage state officials to go further and develop a pilot project involving the full operation of a state resort lodge by a private hotel or resort company. Private-sector companies know how to keep costs below expenses while ensuring a high quality of service,” said Adkisson.
Today’s news is an example of the type of creative solution it will take to maintain our state parks as some of the finest in the nation. To read more about this issue, visit the Lexington Herald Leader to review today’s article.