The legislation requesting a Mill Springs Battlefield Feasibility Study is H.R. 298.
The hearing was the first step in the committee process, where witness testimony is given and lawmakers have the opportunity to ask questions about the legislation before them. Rogers encouraged subcommittee members to pass the bill on to the full committee for consideration, according to Rogers’ office.
Of course, as Neikirk noted, it’s actually the second step after creating the bill in the first place. “The third would be if the committee votes to get the park service to do the feasibility study,” he said. “The fourth step would be if the park service goes to Congress and says, ‘We want you to vote them in.’”
The cost of the study would likely be around $20,000.
Neikirk acknowledges that a resolution it’s a long process — even if it’s approved, it would still take approximately five years to accomplish everything necessary for full inclusion into the U.S. National Parks system.
Still, it’s a worthy effort. Becoming a national park would enable Mill Springs to benefit Pulaski County as a whole, noted Neikirk.
“One of the main reasons you like to be in the park system is tourism,” he said. “If you’re a green dot on the Rand McNally map, people will come to you. More people come to national parks than regional parks.
“Tourism is what drives Pulaski County,” continued Neikirk. “Not everybody is on the lake when it rains. They come off the lake to visit us.”
To that point, Neikirk noted that this year’s Fourth of July holiday weekend — altogether a rainy one — saw the Mill Springs Battlefield Museum draw its largest visitation in five years.
“It gives more people an opportunity to see other things (in Pulaski County),” he said.