Beshear Squeezes Parks For World Equestrian Games Funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Building a stadium and arena at Kentucky Horse Park remains a top priority despite a budget shortfall that has led to widespread cuts in government spending, Gov. Steve Beshear said Friday.

Beshear told reporters at a Capitol news conference that he has taken $28.6 million from various state parks and given it to the horse park in preparation for the World Equestrian Games that will be held in Lexington in 2010.

Two years ago, the state committed to host the games, often referred to as the "Olympics for horses," and has been working since then to prepare for the arrival of some 500,000 spectators and participants from around the world.

"It is an important commitment," Beshear said of the state's decision to host the equestrian games. "It's one I believe in, and one I believe needs to be fulfilled."

It comes at a time when the state is hurting financially. Beshear, who owns a horse farm in the Lexington area, has ordered state agencies and universities to cut spending by 3 percent and has warned that more cuts may be necessary because of a $434 million budget shortfall this year.

To obtain funding to pay for a $24.6 million stadium and a $4 million expansion to an arena already under construction, Beshear pulled money that was intended to pay for improvements at at least 10 state parks. More than $15 million of that money would have been used for improvements at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in southern Kentucky. Another $5 million would have been used to build a conference center at Lake Cumberland.

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  • by One armed bandit Location: Snakeeyes on Jan 28, 2008 at 05:12 PM
    Roll the dice Stevie, this just might be your Tina Conner.
  • by Jeb Location: Ky on Jan 28, 2008 at 05:42 AM
    Ah yes, the World Equestrian Games, where the government takes our tax dollars to make the city look "appropriate" for visitors but could care less what the tax paying citizens want. We want this place to look great all the time, not just when we are getting visitors. This is a joke. We pay taxes for services all year round, but we need to look good for visitors. Bah humbug.
  • by steve on Jan 26, 2008 at 09:10 PM
    Yea he is going to squeeze all the tax payers before its over what a dork.
  • by Virgil Location: Richmon/Irvine on Jan 26, 2008 at 01:39 PM
    It truely is a sad day in Kentucky when we have a governor whose going to rob the State parks which every one can enjoy year round, and give to the Equestrian Games which will only last 2 weeks. And in its wake will be nothing for Kentuckians to enjoy. I am so mad that the governor will be making moves based on personal relationships. He is even going to cut School funding. Does anyone else but me find this to be a big crock. Does anyone else think he has already gone too far. Does anyone else think that Horse lovers have gone too far. State Parks deserve this money more so by far than any horse olympics!! EVERYONE BOYCOTT THE 2010 EQUESTRIAN GAMES!!!
  • by JR Location: Eastern KY on Jan 26, 2008 at 12:57 PM
    Shouldnt be to much longer until we hear.....casinos are our savior.
  • by evelyn Location: morehead on Jan 26, 2008 at 09:12 AM
    Several of our state parks are in desparate need of repair and improvement. Why not increase tobacco tax? This would also help keep kids from starting this deadly habit.
  • by ghettochip Location: richmond on Jan 26, 2008 at 08:34 AM
    'tis a shame that the working middle class taxpayer will not reap the benefits of this "commitment". our parks are just as much an integral part of our culture and livlihood as the horse. perhaps this will prevent the destruction of our beautiful forests, since paving trails, building monstrous buildings, and killing our precious, fragile ecosystems is what our government finds satisfying. i am in favor of not developing our forests, but i oppose the decision to cut education for the equestrian games. let's shoot ourselves in the other foot. what are we doing for the future generations who reside in our beautiful state? our own offspring?
  • by Carol Location: KY on Jan 26, 2008 at 08:01 AM
    Although I don't know anything about the needs at Dale Hollow, I do know that Lake Cumberland already has a building used as a conference center...I know because I've been to conferences there many times. Sometimes, rather than building something new, we just simply need enough funding to take care of what we already have. So, perhaps pulling some of this money from state parks will not have as much of a detrimental effect as people might think. I'm sure many state parks need upkeep, but being frugal... when it comes to building new...isn't always a bad thing. The World Equestrian Games will be a tremendous draw for tourism and can only help KY prosper and put a good face forward to the world. I'm glad to see Gov. Beshear is NOT just automatically trashing anything that was the idea of the previous administration, because Fletcher had many good ideas. It will take patience and persistance but I feel sure there will eventually be enough to go around for the betterment of all!
  • by GARY Location: ELIZABETHTOWN on Jan 26, 2008 at 06:47 AM
    Guess that the Republican counties will suffer for the next 4 years. Willing to bet the Gov has never or will never find his way into the southern part of the state. He needs to remember that Republicans pay taxes also and deserve equal representation. For yeras under the Democratic regime, the southern part of the state was neglected and suffered, but thanks to Gov Fletcher, a few things were improved. Guess that the state will build a new un-needed road in a heavily democratic area and name it Beshear Parkway.


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