Oak Mt. State Park officials fear closure without proper state funding

Oak Mt. State Park officials fear closure without proper state funding

PELHAM, AL (WBRC) - The budget crisis has officials at Oak Mountain State Park concerned.

Officials said on Thursday the park could see deep cuts and might be forced to close if lawmakers don't come through with a workable budget.

City and county leaders are urging lawmakers to provide level funding for the park system so Oak Mountain State Park can continue to function and stay open.

At a news conference, officials noted that there were more than 386,000 guests who visited park last year from all over the world.

Officials can't keep up with facility improvements and provide programs to the public if the park continues to lose state funds.

The Director of Alabama State Parks spoke at the news conference and shared his frustration with how, he says, millions of dollars from the park system's budget have been transferred to the state general fund.

"Our ability to endure these diversions and cash transfer over the last four years has resulted in our reserve fund and emergency funds being depleted, canceled renovation projects and maintenance projects," Greg Lein said. "Enough is enough."

The mayor of Pelham, Gary Waters, says Pelham would not be the same without Oak Mountain State Park.

He said the city and county have done their part to support the park. He says what's missing is the state doing its part to provide proper funding.

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