Commonwealth Journal

June 5, 2014

What’s up in Burnside?

Major state park lodge project may be back on the front burner

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Burnside —

Dormant plans and hopes for a lodge at General Burnside Island State Park may be back on the front burner. Optimistic rumors are making the rounds. Just maybe. There is no confirmation.
  “We are aware of the interest in General Burnside Island State Park and we are studying the potential for development at General Burnside Island,” said Gil Lawson, communications director for Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
That’s all Lawson would say. He wouldn’t address rumors of a major announcement next month involving a possible lodge and other developments at the local state park.
With General Burnside Island once again an island, completely surrounded by waters of a normally operating Lake Cumberland, a reporter raised a question if the once-dead project could be revived. The lodge idea died during seven years while the lake was kept low to facilitate repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.
Lawson refused comment about rumors of a big announcement July 7 concerning General Burnside Island.  “I’m not aware of that,” Lawson said.
A lodge at General Burnside Island State Park has been a subject of discussion since 2006. Requests For Proposals (RFP) were issued by the Kentucky Department of Parks for the lodge and attendant facilities to be developed on a 22-acre site on the north end of the 430-acre island.
Both The Webb Companies of Lexington and Mike Czerwonka, president of Czerwonka and Associates, Louisville, submitted proposals to build and operate the facility. The proposals were turned down. Lawson essentially told the Commonwealth Journal last year the lodge project was dead.
 During the height of the lodge discussions, J.T. Miller, then commissioner of the Department of Parks, said the lodge would be located on a “peak” on the northern point of the island. The area is just north of the campground and Miller said a part of the campsites would be affected by the development. The lodge would be on the highest elevation of the island and overlook Lake Cumberland and Burnside Marina.
The Department of Parks said the facility and operation of the lodge complex “ ... would be perceived by the public as being a part of a system of state parks offering lodging, food and other services to the general public that has earned a highly desirable reputation over many years of operation.”   
The proposed 50-room lodge would include a swimming pool, exercise room, lobby and front desk, conference and meeting space, gift/sundry shop, food preparation and service (dining) facilities, recreation room and public restrooms as well as a lighted and paved automobile parking lot with landscaped islands and paved entrance road. Parking space would be developed to accommodate 500 vehicles.