Tourism Secretary details how businesses can help boost state through P3 projects

Human hand drawing partnership puzzle on the whiteboardAs the P3 process is getting underway, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson says now is the time for businesses to bring forward their public-private partnership proposals that will improve the state.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, Parkinson detailed the positive impact he feels the state’s new public-private partnership (P3) law can have on the state parks and many other areas.

After the law was passed in the 2016 session, the regulation to enable the development of P3 projects was published on Sept. 1 and is currently in the public comment period which will end Sept. 30 and after it is official, the P3 process will be ready to be utilized.

Ahead of that, Tourism Secretary Parkinson says businesses in the state interested in participating in a public-private partnership and outside investors should be prepping their concepts to present to the state.

In terms of what types of projects the Tourism Cabinet is interested in pursuing, Parkinson said they are open to all ideas and pointed to the opportunities in food services with cafeterias in state park resorts, hotel services and more.

“We are a sales organization but we are bureaucracy. So we need some new ideas and some people to come in and operate some of these things. And we can learn from their experience,” Parkinson said. “We aren’t proposing that we sell all the state parks at all. But there are several that might be of interest to people.”

As for how investors can get involved in the P3 process to bring new ideas and investment to areas of state government, Parkinson said in his office they will be looking at an initial proposal, have a 30-day study period and ask others to submit a request for proposal (RFP) as well to make the process competitive. (Hear what Parkinson said about the process at 1:00 in the video.)

“If someone out there has an idea how they could do it better than the state is doing it and it’s a good economic proposal for the taxpayers of Kentucky, we want to move forward with that,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson said those interested in getting involved and proposing an idea should go to the state’s e-procurement website and follow the requirements there.

Noting that the regulations are still being finalized, Parkinson said he believes there should be a finalized package by mid-October. But the Tourism Secretary added that anyone with a proposal ready to go should go ahead and bring that to the table.

“For now, if people have ideas of what they want to submit with a proposal unsolicited, come on down. We are ready to go do some business,” Parkinson said.

Watch part two of the interview with Tourism Secretary Don Parkinson in the video below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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