Burnside To Annex Pulaski Park

Burnside Mayor Ron Jones (left) and city attorney Bruce Orwin during last week's meeting.

The first step has been taken to make alcohol sales at Pulaski County Park during special events a possibility.

At Monday’s meeting of the Burnside City Council, ordinance 2015-001 was introduced, which would annex from the Fishing Creek Bridge on West Ky. 80 to Pulaski County Park.

The move was prompted by discussions with Pulaski County Government about how to accommodate possible concert promoters who may want to have alcohol sales capability if there is an event of that kind at Pulaski County Park, located on West Ky. 80, before you get to Nancy.

While Somerset and Burnside as individual cities both allow alcohol sales, the county itself remains “dry,” or an area where selling and purchasing adult beverages is illegal. That includes Pulaski County Park, which is in neither Somerset nor Burnside. As such, it would have to be annexed into one of those two cities to fully accommodate a concert of which alcohol vendors would be a part.

“We have a promoter that is wanting to bring some of country music’s top talent to the Pulaski County area, and they were in touch with us about it,” said Burnside Mayor Ron Jones.

Initially, talks involved utilizing General Burnside Island State Park, but that proved to not be feasible, according to Jones.

“Their great concern was that they wanted to do it on the lake ... with the lake in the background,” he said. “The only place (at Burnside Island) something like that could happen would be the campground, and the topography there doesn’t lend itself to that type of event. It’s rolling, and you need a good level spot.”

Pulaski County Park was more friendly to the set-up being suggested. The county owns the park, and would still own the park — it won’t be taken care of by Burnside, and the county will still provide maintenance, law enforcement, and other protections. The annexation would have Burnside incur no extra expenses.

All Burnside does is annex the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-owned land on which the park sits — putting it technically within the Burnside City Limits, much the way it did with Lee’s Ford Marina, also out West Ky. 80, a decade ago. This is accomplished by annexing shoreline, which is easily reached from Lee’s Ford since Burnside already stretches out that way.

Jones said that the only benefit Burnside would get would be administrative feeds from alcohol and food sales at an event, as well as the goodwill of helping out the county at large.

“It’s not a taxable piece of property,” said Jones. “... It’s not something that will have much effect on Burnside whatsoever, other than just publicity. People hear about Burnside and Lake Cumberland through all the promotions, maybe it makes people are of Pulaski County who have not heard of us before.”

An exact number of miles to be taken in isn’t certain yet, as the survey has not been completed.

Discussions about the plan have been going on since before last Christmas, noted Jones.

Steve Kelley, Pulaski County Judge-Executive, is pleased with Burnside’s cooperation.

“I think it’s going to be a win for tourism,” he said. “One of my big platforms is that we need to increase tourism. If we move forward with this, it brings thousands of people who might not otherwise be in Pulaski County to the lake. Hopefully we get them as return visitors. Obviously the first step is to be able to have concerts that may or may not want to have alcohol.

Kelley assured that the park itself will not be permanently “wet” and that any deals with concert promoters would be made by contract, with guidelines by the county on what they can and can’t do.

“We want to keep the family-friendly atmosphere there,” he said.

Kelley noted that he’s still unable to release the name of the concert promoter or promoters in question, and said that discussions are still being held with “a couple of different groups.”

In February, both Jones and Kelley talked to the Commonwealth Journal, noting that the concert at Pulaski County park could potentially bring in big-name country music artists and millions of tourist dollars per day into the county. It could also involve the construction of a floating amphitheater.

Since it was a first reading, no vote was taken on the ordinance Monday.