AP NEWS

House OKs bill for Beech Fork lodge feasibility study

March 6, 2019

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON - The House of Delegates on Monday accepted a Senate amendment to a bill that would require the Division of Natural Resources to complete a feasibility study on building a lodge at Beech Fork State Park.

The amendment was added Friday to House Bill 3140, which permits the DNR director to authorize repairs, renovation and rehabilitation for existing facilities, buildings, amenities and infrastructure.

The amendment requires DNR to complete a feasibility study on building the long-sought Beech Fork lodge and turn in a report to the Joint Committee of Government and Finance by Dec. 1.

Per the amendment, the director must convene two public hearings by Oct. 1. The first hearing will seek input regarding options for construction of a lodge and conference center, including all available public, private or public-private partnership funding and financing options.

The second public hearing should be on the feasibility study, and any recommendations will be available for public comment.

These hearings must be in a suitable location reasonably close to Beech Fork to accommodate public participation by citizens of Cabell, Lincoln and Wayne counties, according to the amendment.

The amended bill was passed unanimously by the House and now heads to the governor for signature. The bill will be effective from passage.