Lack of state funding causes discussion over Lake Malone - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Lack of state funding causes discussion over Lake Malone

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MUHLENBERG CO., KY (WFIE) -

A Muhlenberg County park is in desperate need for some upgrades, but a lack of state funding has put a stop to those chances. 

State lawmakers and citizens met on Wednesday to discuss Lake Malone State Park. They discussed the plight of under funded state parks, streamlining operations with limited budgets, and gaining public private partnerships to keep parks like them alive.

The 338 acres, once a hotbed for fishermen and campers, is now barren and limping along. Officials have cited not enough funding to pay staff, or update existing structures.  

Lake Malone must share $28 million with the rest of Kentucky State Parks. The park once received $11 million over a two year period, now it's down to just five.  

At the meeting on Wednesday, lawmakers designated one under used resource as their gateway out of the red. That would be public/private partnerships and taking existing money from communities and offering use of Lake Malone sites to form unions and increase revenue.

"The challenge is we're asking the private sector to take over something that we've already built. What we're looking at is to say, 'Ok we've got these beautiful locations. What would you like to build, operate, and give us a percentage of the revenue,'" said Elaine Walker, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Parks.

Legislation is currently in Congress to decrease picky regulations needed for those partnerships.  

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