The Mill Springs Battlefield is currently preserved and maintained through private sources, but adding the Mill Springs Battlefield site into the National Park Service would help ensure its preservation for future generations.
In addition, the battlefield’s current staff — of which there are several full time employees and several part time employees — would be funded through the U.S. government, and not through the county, which has pitched in around $130,000 yearly to cover those salaries.
“The best part of this is this gets us off your payroll,” Neikirk said. “ ... Our intentions was when we originally started this 21 years ago was that we be self-sufficient.”
Becoming a national park would undoubtedly help the association do that, Neikirk said.
“I think it’s ... a good thing to the fact that if it’s going to get them quicker off our payroll ... I think it’s a good expense,” said Pulaski County Treasurer Joan Isaacs.
Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock asked whether the association would be able to pitch in anything toward the survey cost.
“Everybody knows how tight all budgets are and fiscal court’s is no different,” Bullock said. “ ... It would be very helpful to the court if you could (help) but if not we’re more than willing to take this step.”
Neikirk says the floundering economy has had its effect on the association as well, and he said they’ve stretched everything they can to ensure they don’t ask the county for more than their allotted funds to cover salaries.
“We want to make sure we’re staying in our budget. ... we’re going to live within our means,” Neikirk said.
Neikirk and Burkett both said they would revisit their budget to see if anything could be spared for the survey cost, which probably wouldn’t need to be paid until next year.
“I think we’re very conscious of cost,” said Burkett. “As your costs have increased, so have ours.”
The court voted unanimously to cover the cost of the survey, whether that be the whole $20,000 or whatever is left should the battlefield association be able to pitch in.
“I think it’s a good investment on the county’s part,” said Maxey.