Sen. Clay Scofield is sponsoring a bill that would issue $80 million worth of bonds for improvements in the State Park system.
“It will definitely impact Marshall County, since we have 3 parks,” Sen. Scofield said.
Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter carried it in the House.
“You have the two majority leaders both carrying the bill,” Sen. Scofield said. “It is a 3-bill package and it is a constitutional amendment, so it will be on the ballot in the 2022 election.”
He said the timing is good to do the bond issue because the state just paid off a $110 million bond issue for parks. The money that was going to pay that bond issue will just roll right to this one, but it will be less because the amount is less and bond rates are so good right now, the senator said.
“The good thing about this is it will be geared for projects that bring a return on investment,” Sen. Scofield said. Several years ago, he sponsored the Amendment 2 bill that said monies generated in the parks would stay in the parks.
“So if we use this bond issue to make improvements in the parks that lead to more money coming into the parks, it will help the parks even more,” Sen. Scofield said.
He said they are not listing in the bill projects they plan to do with the money. But the Conservation Department issued a list as it put together a presentation for the legislature. Local projects on that list included:
Lake Guntersville State Park – Renovate the campground, build a new campground at Town Creek, golf course improvements
Cathedral Caverns – Develop a new swimming pool and pavilion to enhance the new campground under construction and the day use area
Bucks Pocket – Provide new camper cabins within the campground
“The bond issue was originally going to be $70 million,” Sen. Scofield said. “The House added $5 million to make sure all the campsites at all the parks were wired for WiFi. Then $5 million more was added for the historic parks run by the Alabama Historical Commission.”
He said the spending for this bond issue will be “much more targeted, fiscally responsible with an eye towards return on investment.”
The bond issue bill has passed out of the House and should come up for a vote in the Senate next week.