FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced a proposal for $2.3 million in improvements for Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. The improvements are part of a broader plan to expand tourism opportunities for Eastern Kentucky – a plan that will be included in the governor’s 2008 budget proposal to the General Assembly.
“This investment will help attract tourists to eastern Kentucky and boost economic development in the region,” Governor Fletcher said during a news conference at the popular park in Floyd County. “Our resort parks are well known destinations for tourists, but we need to make improvements so we can support our claim of having the nation’s finest park system.”
In August, Governor Fletcher announced a study that showed an increase in adventure tourism spending in eastern Kentucky could bring 130,000 more visitors annually and create 1,500 more jobs with an annual economic impact of $100 million. The Governor also announced a $623,000 grant program to help increase adventure tourism opportunities. As part of the effort, the Governor directed the Department of Parks to improve its lodging facilities in eastern Kentucky.
The investment at Jenny Wiley includes $2.3 million in upgrades to the 49-room May Lodge and the park’s 18 cottages as well as expansion of recreational opportunities.
The lodge room and cottage improvements will include updated guest bath facilities, new paint, wall decor and furniture. Carpeting and drapes will be replaced where needed. Décor in the lobby will be improved, and the exterior will be painted and structurally improved.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has become known in recent years for its elk viewing tours in the fall and winter. The 1,500-acre park is on Dewey Lake near Prestonsburg. In addition to the lodge and 18 one- and two-bedroom cottages, the park maintains a campground with 117 sites and a conference center that accommodates up to 800. The outdoor theater operates in summer months.
Drug treatment grant awarded
Governor Ernie Fletcher today also awarded $138,000 in grant money to the Floyd County Detention Center. The funding will be used to expand a substance abuse treatment program for inmates. The program has had seven graduates and is now serving 10 inmates.
“These funds will help individuals turn their lives around and give them the chance to seek treatment,” said Governor Fletcher, who has made it a priority to change Kentucky’s revolving-door approach to substance abuse treatment. “We have too many Kentuckians serving time in jails and prisons who need treatment for their drug addictions. Research shows they will be coming back if we don’t treat them while they are incarcerated.”
Kentucky contracts with county jails to house approximately 5,000 male inmates and 1,000 females. Prior to 2005, Kentucky had just one jail that provided any type of substance abuse treatment to male inmates and none to females. The 2006 General Assembly provided $1 million to the Office of Drug Control Policy to begin substance abuse treatment programs for inmates. Working with the Department of Corrections, jailers and service providers, recovery programs were established in 14 jails distributed around all congressional districts.
“We are grateful the administration recognizes the need for substance abuse treatment for those individuals and families fighting the disease of addiction,” said Jenifer Noland, regional vice president of WestCare Kentucky, which administers the programs. “Drugs have paralyzed eastern Kentucky long enough, and with support of the community and government officials, WestCare is committed to making an impact on this serious problem.”
“We need to continue to work together to rid our state of this problem that is ruining the lives of so many people,” said Sen. Johnny Ray Turner (D-Drift). “These funds will continue to provide the Floyd County Detention Center the resources they need to stop the revolving door with people who abuse drugs. It will encourage those individuals to turn their lives around and give them the chance to seek treatment.”
Law enforcement agency funding for impaired driving, seatbelt use
Underscoring his commitment to highway safety, Governor Fletcher also presented a $10,000 safety grant to the Prestonsburg Police Department for use in curbing impaired driving and increasing seatbelt usage.
Such emphases helped Kentucky reduce traffic fatalities to a five-year low last year. So far in 2007, Kentucky has recorded 27 fewer fatalities than at the same point in 2006.
“We are constantly looking for new approaches to provide local law enforcement and other agencies the tools they need to save lives on our highways,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are working with local agencies and community leaders to identify life saving opportunities like this federal grant program, which provides financial resources for local police departments.”