EUREKA SPRINGS - The State Parks Department cannot keep building promised new facilities while money intended for those projects goes to keep existing sites open, parks commissioners said Thursday.
"I will not vote to spend more money on new stuff until I'm sure we have enough money to take care of what we have," commissioner Steve Arrison said during a meeting of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission.
More than half the money going to the department from the-voter approved one-eighth cent sales tax for conservation will go into park operations this fiscal year, the latest budget figures show. The parks portion of the tax is estimated to be $25.9 million for the same fiscal year.
Meanwhile, an estimated $208 million in projects remain on the list of projects the department released when the tax was passed in 1996. The state has added no state parks since the commission imposed a freeze in 1995, but some parks authorized as long ago as 1973 have not been developed yet, state Parks Director Gregg Butts said.