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Park loses funds in state budget cuts

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By Staff

Nobody likes it when the budget ax falls on them, but given the dire revenue picture of Kentucky for the next couple of years, it was no real shock that $1.1 million in funding was pulled for improvements at the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre.

Kentucky, like many other states, is facing a budget austere to the point of pain. Those words belong to new Gov. Steve Beshear, who hasnt seen much of the bright side of the day since taking the reins of governor in December. Ours was just one of many parks improvement projects that was scrapped.

It was State Senator Dan Kelly, upon realizing the great need for renovation and repair at the amphitheatre, who largely is responsible for securing the grant. Rep. David Floyd was also actively involved in pushing for the improvements. While the project was taken off the go-list, their efforts are nonetheless appreciated by the Bardstown and greater Nelson communities.

The amphitheatre is leased to the non-profit Stephen Foster Drama Association. This year, the group is celebrating the 50th year of the Foster musical, truly a significant achievement. My Old Kentucky Home is, of course, our beloved state song and Stephen FosterThe Musical is the states musical, set on the grounds of the states diamond-in-the-rough, Federal Hill and My Old Kentucky Home.

Bleak economic times wont last and we can expect the amphitheatre as well as My Old Kentucky Home State Park to receive favorable consideration for improvements when the time is right. In truth, we are a bit skeptical that $1.1 million will truly serve all the needs of the amphitheatre. We would encourage the drama association to go back to the drawing board and, working in unison with park officials, to do some comprehensive planning as to its needs, taking into account everything from sound to staging to potential bowl covering of the stage and/or audience seating.

We believe they would find responsive eyes and ears of Sen. Kelly, Rep. Floyd and others. Sometime in the not too distant future the state will again be in the position to repair and enhance the rich family treasure that is the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre and Stephen FosterThe Musical. Local leaders who are the current purveyors of the 50-year legacy of Kentuckys musical need to think inside and outside the box and then present their findings to our legislative leaders, who hopefully will carry the MOKH torch to the General Assembly for passage so that the music and the lore of this important part of state history and tradition can forever be preserved.