FRANKFORT, KY. (April 4, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced he signed House Bill 553, which allocates $13 million to improve Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and Lake Barkley State Resort Park, to repair the properties as well as help boost the state’s tourism industry and economy.
The bill designates $5.5 million to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and $7.5 million to Lake Barkley State Resort Park to address structural, exterior, mechanical and interior deficiencies.
“These funds are critical to preserving two of our great state parks that are in need of significant repair,” Gov. Beshear said. “We must keep these parks open to help boost our state’s tourism industry and economy, as well as have them available, if needed, to provide critical emergency shelter for victims and first responders as they did during the December 2021 quad-state tornado impacting Western Kentucky and the July 2022 flooding impacting Eastern Kentucky.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Beshear signing House Joint Resolution 76 into law. HJR 76 designates $40 million toward campground upgrades, $20 million toward utility upgrades and $6 million toward broadband and Wi-Fi upgrades.
“Investing in Kentucky State Parks directly boosts the commonwealth’s tourism industry,” said Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier. “Our parks attract travelers from across the country as well as locals and create a significant economic impact for Kentucky. We welcome this vital funding, which will allow our parks to carry out important updates that will accommodate guest needs and draw more visitors to our commonwealth.”
“Thank you, Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly, for your continued support for Kentucky State Parks. We are appreciative of this funding, which will support critical improvements for Jenny Wiley and Lake Barkley State Resort Parks,” said Department of Parks Commissioner Russ Meyer. “Both parks played important roles in helping Kentuckians in the wake of natural disasters and are greatly in need of repairs. We look forward to implementing these appropriations, which will allow our parks to serve our guests and stand ready as future resources for the public as necessary.”
Unfortunately, the bills passed by the General Assembly this year did not include critical funding of $27 million in building systems improvements, $22 million in accommodation upgrades and $22 million in recreational amenity upgrades. Without this funding, Kentucky State Parks are unable to make crucial infrastructure, accommodation and recreational improvements.
Kentucky’s economic recovery over the last two years is a reflection of the Beshear administration’s continued investments in the tourism industry. Throughout the pandemic, the commonwealth invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising efforts and to encourage safe travel to Kentucky through the development of new marketing campaigns.
Previously, the Governor dedicated $5.3 million in federal funding to 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties.
Last July, the Governor announced $75 million in funding to further strengthen the tourism industry’s promotional and advertising efforts and to enable the commonwealth to surpass pre-pandemic numbers.
For the latest Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet updates, follow the cabinet on Facebook
. To learn more about tourism and arts in Kentucky, visit tah.ky.gov