Tribune-Courier News Reporter
After what Calvert City Mayor Lynn Jones calls years of “off-hand discussion,” he and the Calvert City Council have spent the last several months in dialogue that he is hopeful will lead to the annexation of the Kentucky Dam Village (KDV) State Resort Park into the boundaries of Calvert City limits.
Proponents of the annexation effort, which recently got the backing of Governor Steve Beshear’s office, believe it could prove to be a win-win situation for both Calvert City and the state-owned resort park.
As Marshall County’s only “moist” community, Calvert City governance could give Kentucky Dam Village the ability to provide alcohol sales in its dining room and convention center.
By-the-drink liquor sales in dining facilities with 100 or more seats were legalized in Calvert City in 2004. In 2011 Kentucky began allowing state parks to sell alcohol by-the-drink in communities which were already wet or moist. With most of Kentucky’s 51 state parks in dry communities only a handful were affected by the 2011 change in policy – which came about as a way to boost sales of food, overnight lodging, golf course usage and convention center business in Kentucky’s state parks system. Annexation into the Calvert City limits would eliminate any obstacles currently prohibiting alcohol sales at Kentucky Dam Village.
Gil Lawson, Spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Parks, said Calvert City’s effort to annex the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park was an exciting venture, which could bring much-needed business to the Kentucky Dam Village parks system.
“If Calvert City does annex the park we would be interested in seeking a liquor license,” Lawson said. “It would generate more business for the park. We have several other parks that serve alcoholic beverages and we believe it generates more business for them by means of customers and revenues.”
Lawson said in state parks such as Lake Barkley in Cadiz and Jenny Wiley in Prestonsburg, the ability to sell alcohol has provided a boost to the overall local economy by making them more marketable to groups looking for meeting and convention locations.
Jones believes the addition of Kentucky Dam Village into his city’s offerings is nothing but positive for the community most notable for being home to the county’s industrial complex.
“The opportunities it would provide Calvert City are definitely worth the pursuit. For Calvert City it would provide us a way to be seen in a different light and with a different tourism option. We are more than our plants and our golf course. Annexation would give us new long-term goals and initiatives and a new way at looking into the future – if we can annex we can market ourselves as home of the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park,” he said.
Jones said a number of details remain to be worked out before the annexation can be finalized.
“There are of course obstacles that we will have to overcome, but we are trying to be team players and we’re going through the process of talking to the other entities involved in the process now – the North Marshall Water District, the Gilbertsville Volunteer Fire Department and the park officials.”
Jones said Calvert City has worked in collaboration with both the North Marshall Water District and the Gilbertsville Volunteer Fire Department in the past and have always been able to provide the best benefits for patrons.
“The Calvert City and Gilbertsville fire departments already have a great working relationship and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said. “The water district has also worked with us on several projects before and we’ve never had any problems working with them to provide the best deals we can. We’ve already begun talking to both sides with no issues and we want to continue our strong partnerships.”
Jones said if all goes according to plan he hopes to present an ordinance of annexation to the Calvert City Council for approval in early April.
If approved, there would be a 60-day statutory public comment period and then Jones said annexation could be completed as early as July, just in time for the height of summer tourism season.
“We want to move the whole process as quickly as possible, but you have to build a strong foundation before you can build the rest of the house,” Jones said.