Governor & legislators in town for park events
Last week was a big week for local state parks as Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and members of the West Virginia Legislature came to Berkeley Springs.
Legislators were treated to tours and receptions at both Cacapon Resort State Park and Berkeley Springs State Park.
Key state senators and delegates were at Cacapon lodge for a reception and dinner hosted by the park and park foundation on Monday evening, October 1.
About 50 county residents turned out to thank the legislators for their continued support of the park and for funding the planned 79-room expansion of the lodge. The expansion is scheduled to begin in late 2013.
Among the legislators
present were State Senator Herb Snyder (D-Jefferson County), who brokered the deal to get the funding for the lodge expansion; Senator William Laird (D-Fayette), chairman of the Legislature’s Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Senator Roman Prezioso (D-Marion), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and Delegate Harry Keith White (D-Mingo), chairman of the House Finance Committee.
Senator Snyder said getting approval for the park expansion was a team effort.
He commended the Morgan County Commission and, in particular, Commission President Stacy Dugan for her persistence in championing the project and the work of the Parks and Finance committees for pushing through the legislation.
Senator Prezioso said Senator John Unger (D-Berkeley) was instrumental in helping convince the Governor to sign the legislation last April.
The bill provides $23.5 million to the park for the addition to the lodge, a swimming pool and spa, a new restaurant, golf course improvements and additional water and sewer infrastructure to support the lodge expansion.
While at Cacapon, legislators were told of the many projects that Cacapon Resort State Park Foundation has completed to make the park more enjoyable for visitors.
Berkeley Springs tour
A tour of Berkeley Springs State Park, including the recently renovated Bath House and Museum of Berkeley Springs, was conducted for legislators on Tuesday, October 2, followed by dinner at Tari’s Cafe.
The group were told about the September 1 flood that caused damage to the swimming pool and park office.
Park project certified
Governor Tomblin was at the Morgan County Courthouse on Wednesday, October 3 to officially certify the Cacapon State Park expansion project.
While here, Tomblin also visited Caperton Furniture Works and the U.S. Silica plant.
With the governor’s signature on the certification document, the project is now released to the state’s Economic Development Authority to sell bonds to finance the construction at the park.
A standing room-only crowd gathered in the Morgan County Courthouse meeting room to greet Tomblin.
In addition to the Cacapon State Park project, Commission President Dugan praised Tomblin for keeping the budget balanced in these hard economic times.
“West Virginia has the highest credit rating it has had in decades,” Dugan said.
Tomblin, in turn, praised Senator Snyder for coming up with a way to finance the park project. The same bill also provides $28 million for a lodge and other improvements at Beech Fork State Park near Huntington.
Tomblin said debt service on the bonds will be paid by taking $3 million a year over the next 30 years from state lottery revenues.