Swecker supports private funding for parks
Care to camp at McDonald’s Millersylvania Park? Would you like to
take a swim at Ike Kinswa Wal-Mart Park?
Those could be your choices under a bill proposed by Sen. Dan Swecker,
R-Rochester, who hopes private sponsorships could save the ailing
state park system.
“There is a difference between scaled down services, which we’re going
to have to do in these tight budget times, and the complete elimination
of a service such as parks,” said Swecker, who serves on the Senate
Parks, Fish and Wildlife Committee.
SB 5130 allows the state parks commission to contract with private
sponsors if doing so will decrease costs, improve services or avoid
park closures. The sponsorship should “augment but not replace the
functions of current employees,” according to the bill’s language.
Private sponsors could assume responsibility for any aspect of site
management, including routine building and grounds maintenance, security,
operations, renovations, or even the development of new facilities.
The law would direct the state to maintain signs with the sponsor’s
names at appropriate locations.
Local state parks have survived recent rounds of state budget cuts,
including a plan last year that would have closed Ike Kinswa State
Further cuts and revenue enhancements would create a parking fee at
state parks and cut budgets for other parks around the state.