Bond funding passed for Cacapon project
The bill to fund upgrades at Cacapon State Park has passed both the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates and now awaits Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s signature.
Senate Bill 362 authorizes the issuance of $52.5 million in bonds for capital improvements for Cacapon State Park and Beech Fork State Park in Wayne County. The debt will be paid over 30 years at $3 million a year from excess video lottery revenues.
Of the $52.5 million, $23.5 million will go to Cacapon State Park for a 79-room addition to the lodge, including a swimming pool and spa, a new restaurant, golf course improvements and additional infrastructure to support the lodge expansion.
Funding for the project at Cacapon, which has been shovel ready for several years, will be available July 1, 2013, according to the bill.
Beech Fork State Park near Huntington will use the bulk of the rest of the funding to build a hotel-style lodge. The park now only has cabins and camping facilities for lodging.
Senator Herb Snyder of Jefferson County sponsored the bill with support from Senators Walt Helmick of Pocahontas County, Clark Barnes of Randolph County and nine other senators.
The bill also had strong support from House Speaker Richard Thompson of Wayne County where Beech Fork State Park is located.
see CACAPON PROJECT page 10
SB362 passed the Senate by a vote of 33-1 on February 29 and the House by a vote of 95-5 on March 7.
The House made several small amendments to the bill which was approved by the Senate, again by a vote of 33-1, on March 9.
Righting a wrong
Snyder said Monday, “I am as positive as I can be that the Governor will sign the bill.”
Asked why he sponsored and so strongly supported the bill, Snyder said, “Primarily the reason I sponsored the bill was to undo a wrong. Cacapon should have been funded several years ago.”
He explained when the funding issue for Cacapon came up two years ago, the money went to Canaan Valley instead - even though Cacapon was higher on the park’s priority list.
“I have just undone that wrong,” Snyder said.
He said the expansion at Cacapon makes sense because of its proximity to Washington, Baltimore and easy access from Philadelphia.
In addition, Snyder, who is a newly-appointed member to the Parks Committee, said he is now advocating for all state parks.
Snyder expressed his hopes the money being invested at the Cacapon State Park in Morgan County will kick-start other county projects.
“The probability of the Coolfont project starting up again could be part of a ripple effect,” he said.
Snyder said his district used to include all three counties but now only includes Jefferson and part of Berkeley counties.
“But I have not forgotten Morgan County. This is good for all of us,” he said.
Snyder said he would like to see a bill signing event with the governor take place soon in Morgan County.