Amendment 2 is a statewide ballot measure that will provide a dedicated source of funding to Alabama’s State Park System. Preventing critical dollars received by the State Parks Fund and the State Parks Revolving Fund, from being diverted to other public accounts will ensure Alabamians have ample resources for the preservation and enhancement of park facilities.
Alabama recently saw the closure of 5 State Parks at the end of 2015 reducing the number of state parks to just 17. These Parks were shuttered because their operating costs exceeded their revenue. A “yes” vote may help prevent the future closure of parks by ensuring the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has a dedicated and protected revenue source.
ASCE supports immediate and sustained action to reinvest in our park systems. This action should consider both protection of our national heritage and enhancement of the experience of park visitors. ASCE also believes that monies collected through on-site user fees and concessionaire agreements should be available to be used for on-site maintenance, operations and enhancements.
According to its 75th Annual Report, 80 to 90 percent of the annual funding for state’s parks comes from customer fees, not taxes. Alabama State Parks had $375 million economic impact which includes $140 million in earnings for thousands of people in various segments of the workforce. These same parks generate $10.9 million in state and local taxes. Why not help ensure the monies we invest in our recreation is committed to maintain and improve our favorite vacation spots? Likewise, let’s prevent future economic losses created by the potential closure of these facilities.
When you head to the polls on November 8, remember to cast a “yes” vote on Amendment 2.