An amendment on the ballot Tuesday would authorize the state to issue $85 million in bonds to pay for improvements at state parks and historical sites.
On the ballot, amendment 1 reads:
“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, authorizing the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds of the State of Alabama of up to $85,000,000 for the purposes of the improvement, renovation, equipping, acquisition, provision, construction, and maintenance of Alabama state parks under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and public historical sites and public historical parks under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Historical Commission. (Proposed by Act 2021-326) ”
Repaying the bonds will cost $6 million a year over 20 years, according to estimates from the Legislative Services Agency’s Fiscal Division. The money will be repaid with tax proceeds already earmarked for the State Park system bond repayment.
Of the total amount, $80 million would go to state parks and $5 million to historical sites.
The Public Affairs Council of Alabama also analyzed the funding issue and found that Alabama spent less per capita on its state parks than any other state in the country.
Its report said this bond issue is intended to address smaller projects throughout the system, especially at parks that haven’t received attention, such as Rickwood Caverns and Lake Lurleen, or older parks, including renovations at lodges such as Cheaha, Wheeler and Lakepoint. Repairs also are needed at parks that have suffered storm damage, and the money could be used to build swimming pools, modernize playgrounds and improve amenities such as WIFI, electrical systems and sewer hook-up, as well as adding cabins and campgrounds.