When Kentucky’s Department of Parks announced in December that the docks and gas dispenser at Lake Malone State Park had been condemned, concerned citizens in Muhlenberg County sprang into action. A local action committee has initiated a plan for the community to drive the effort to re-open the docks and a community fundraising effort is underway.
Gary Jones, Director of Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress, invited Donnie Holland, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Parks to meet with concerned citizens of Muhlenberg in mid-January, to assess the options for getting the docks re-opened. Mr. Holland brought a large group from the Department of Parks to participate in the meeting, informing attendees that while the State knows how important this dock is, there is no state funding available and none will be available in the foreseeable future. For this reason, if the affected counties hope to reopen the docks, it will take a community effort by those counties. Commissioner Holland also assured the group that if the community took action to secure funding, the Department of Parks would make every effort to expedite state processes, allowing the project to move forward quickly.
Led by the Friends of Lake Malone, a plan has been initiated to replace the dock and gas dispenser, with hopes of completing the project as the summer season begins. In order to do that, a community fundraising effort is underway to raise at least $250,000, the estimated cost of the dock replacement. The proposed new dock will be fully handicap accessible. If additional funds are raised, they will all be used for improvements to the campgrounds, beach and playground at Lake Malone State Park.
The fundraising effort was kicked off with an initial grant of $200,000 from the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation. Kathy Jacobi, President of the Foundation said, “The Foundation is 110 percent behind this project, but we can’t make it happen without community support. With all of us working together, the County will make this project happen just like Muhlenberg has done in the past with projects like the Madisonville Community College’s local campus and Muhlenberg County Park.” The local action committee and the Friends of Lake Malone are now calling on individual donors from the community to raise the final $50,000 through tax deductible contributions. Donations have already been committed from the cities of Central City and Greenville and the Tourism Commissions of each of those cities.
The Friends of Lake Malone State Park organization has partnered with the Kentucky State Parks Foundation to oversee the project. The Kentucky State Parks Foundation is a public charity that receives no funding from the State of Kentucky or the Kentucky State Parks Department. The Foundation is devoted to protecting and enhancing Kentucky State Parks. Molly Caldwell, President, remarked that the Kentucky State Parks Foundation is “thrilled to be an advocate for Lake Malone and a partner with the Friends group to raise funds for the project. This extraordinary effort will serve as a model for communities across the state.” In addition to serving as an advocate for Lake Malone with the State government, KSPF will accept all tax deductible donations for the Lake Malone project. All donated funds will be used exclusively for Lake Malone projects, and will not be able to be accessed for other state parks.
Donald Phelps, President of the Friends of Lake Malone State Park stated, “The dock area provides access to the lake for so many residents and tourists each year – those in boats, those at the campground and those who want to fish from the docks. We have been humbled by the way that our whole community has jumped in to help keep the docks open for everyone.”
All donations to the project are tax-deductible and can be made by check or credit card. Checks should be made out to the Kentucky State Parks Foundation with “Friends of Lake Malone” specified on the check. These can be mailed to Friends of Lake Malone, 331 St. Rte. 8001, Dunmor, KY 42339. For credit card donations, visit www.kentuckystateparksfoundation.org/donate. Be sure to designate that your gift is for the Friends of Lake Malone.
Questions about the project or donations can be directed to Gary Jones of Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress (270-338-4102), Molly Caldwell of Kentucky State Parks Foundation (859-351-8430) or Roger Griffin of the Friends of Lake Malone (270-657-3111).