Senate bill would fund Cacapon Park project
Twelve members of West Virginia’s State Senate have sponsored a bill that could fund improvements to Cacapon State Park and Beech Fork State Park through $52.5 million in bonds.
If the bill passes, the bonds would be payable from the state’s Education, Arts, Sciences & Tourism Debt Service Fund, which is fed by video lottery revenues.
Upgrades to Cacapon State Park’s lodge, restaurant, golf course and other infrastructure have already been engineered and designed. They include the addition of a swimming pool, spa and 79 new lodge rooms. The total cost for the project is estimated at $23.5 million.
Senate Bill 362 was introduced last Friday, January 20 and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
State Senator Herb Snyder(D-Jefferson County) is the bill’s main sponsor. He is joined by representatives from around the state in offering the bill.
Among his sponsoring colleagues are Morgan County’s representatives in the Senate, Democrat Walt Helmick and Republican Clark Barnes.
Snyder, who once represented Morgan County in Charleston, said he sees the bond proposal as a win-win for everyone, not just Cacapon and Beech Fork parks.
Projected costs are $28.5 million for upgrades at Beech Fork, south of Huntington.
“This is a rare instance because this is a revenue-generator,” Snyder said.
An estimated $1 million to $2 million in new revenue would come into the state park system as a result of the projects, which add rooms and conference facilities to draw more guests, Snyder said.
The $3 million annual debt service on $52.5 million in bonds would be paid through excess video lottery funds, meaning the added park revenue would go back into the state park system.
“They can do a lot of good things in parks across the state with this revenue,” Snyder said.
“It’s not only good for Wayne County and Morgan County, but for the entire park system,” he said.
Snyder said the bill has a lot of support, and he’s optimistic about its chances this legislative session.
Because the bill sets aside money that’s already in the state’s revenue, no public vote is required on the bond issue, Snyder said.