Lodge proposals sought once again

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By James Roberts

It's on again. For the fourth time, a request for proposals has been issued for the development of a lodge at Green River Lake. And, like the last RFP, the plans do not include a golf course.

A request for proposals is a series of advertisements seeking bids on a project from developers.

The RFP was posted at https://emars.ky.gov/online/vss/Advantage on Nov. 12. The deadline to submit proposals is 4 p.m. on Dec. 12. Those interested should click "Public Access," "Business Opportunities" and then "Search for Solicitations."

Like the third RFP, which was issued late last year, the new RFP is essentially the same as the one issued in early 2007. It still calls for a lodge with at least 50 rooms, a swimming pool, restaurant, gift shop and other amenities offered at most state resort parks.

According to the RFP, "private, third-party, developers who will finance, design, construct, maintain, manage, operate, and furnish a first class, high quality resort lodge/conference center/restaurant and facility" may submit proposals.

Developers must "demonstrate the necessary capability to finance, design, construct, and thereafter successfully maintain, operate, furnish and manage the project at optimum potential on a long-term basis."

The RFP also states "the physical structure of the lodge and attendant facilities will be similar, though not identical, to the lodge at Dale Hollow Lake State Park."

The conference center must seat at least 250 in the main room and 12 people in each of four separate, smaller conference rooms. The restaurant must seat at least 150.

There was no estimated cost on the new RFP. The total cost of the original project was estimated at $25 million when plans included a 90-room/30-villa hotel and golf course. The lodge, coupled with a restaurant and conference center, was expected to cost about $17 million.

The RFP issued late last year stalled in October when Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued an injunction preventing the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet from issuing or opening proposals on projects at Green River Lake, Herrington Lake, General Burnside Island and Lake Malone.

Last December, Jill Midkiff, Finance Cabinet director of communications, said the injunction resulted from a lawsuit against the state by the AFL-CIO demanding that private contractors working on state park projects pay the prevailing wage. The prevailing wage is the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime, paid in the largest city in each county to the majority of workers.

Campbellsville/Taylor County Recreation Board issued the first RFP five years ago. Tennessee-based developer Earl Worsham submitted a proposal at that time.

However, in 2006, the state determined that another RFP would have to be issued because the scope of the project had changed. Plans have been modified several times over the course of discussions with Worsham. Last year, the lodge was scaled back to about 50 rooms. Previously, it had been a 90-room/30-villa lodge and included a golf course.

The second RFP, issued in February 2007, was released by the state. No one submitted proposals, including Worsham.

In September 2007, the state issued another RFP, which didn't include an 18-hole golf course.

"The original RFPs required the developer to include a golf course as part of the proposal," J.T. Miller, Kentucky Department of Parks commissioner, said last year. "This requirement added approximately $8 million to the developers' total cost, which likely discouraged bidders. We eliminated this requirement, but also eliminated the proposed state investment of $3 million for infrastructure that was a part of the last RFP issued."

Miller said funding for the 18-hole golf course will be sought from lawmakers.

In 2003, City and County governments each approved measures providing for a bond issue to pay for construction of the golf course. However, the process never went any further.

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.