Otter Creek Park to reopen, but it'll cost you

Frankfort, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - We're learning new details about the Otter Creek Outdoor Recreational Area's future and how much it will cost you to use the park.

It sits near Old Mill Road between Dixie Highway and Garrett Road.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will take over the park and plan to open it in the new year, and with that comes some new changes.

"One of our major emphasis is getting people and outdoors closer together and this 2,200 acre park is in the backdoor of over a million people," said Dr. Jonathan W. Gassett with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

But hard times forced its previous owner, Metro Parks, to cut ties with Otter Creek two years ago.  That means it's still a mess following the late 2008 ice storm.

"It's been closed for two years, so anything that sits idle for two years, I mean, the trails need to be cleaned up, some of the buildings have become run down some further than we could do anything with and so some buildings will be demolished and we'll be doing some remodeling on some and overall maintenance and clean-up," said Stephen Glenn with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

About 100 buildings line the massive park.  In its heyday, it saw about half-a-million visitors a year.

Opening Otter Creek back up has been a priority, as the park now becomes the property of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; but how to pay for it hasn't been an easy decision.

On Friday, December 2, the department's commissioners approved the use of user fees to offset costs.

Each person will pay $3 a day to use the park, or can buy a $30 annual pass.  On top of that, if you choose to participate in some of the new activities that will be offered, there will be an extra $7 per person per day.

"There will be hunting and fishing on the park but there will be other activities like horseback riding, bike riding, we'll have both an archery and a 3D archery range and a static archery and a firearms range," Dr. Gassett said.

All told, it'll take as much as a half million-dollars to operate the park and get things up and running.  It'll employ a handful of people and is expected to open in the Spring of 2011.

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