Kentucky State Parks to Offer Safe Housing to First Responders and Medical Workers

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — To stop the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Andy Beshear announced that state park cabins and cottages would be used as isolation housing for first responders.  

In his Wednesday briefing, Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack announced four medical students would be moving into rooms at Kentucky Dam Village Thursday, April 9. 

Secretary of the Arts, Tourism and Heritage Cabinet, Mike Berry, says the Kentucky Parks Department is working closely with county Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) to provide alternative housing. 

“We call emergency management and emergency management would work with EOC, the state web EOC that could get them certified so that they could utilize one of these parks,” says Berry. 

Once a first responder has been verified and certified, they will be placed in one of the six state parks closest to their region. 

Kentucky Dam Village, Lake Cumberland General Butler, Carter Caves, Cumberland Falls, and Audubon Parks will be the first parks opened to first responders.

 Offering 140 cabins and cottages, each first responder will have the proper isolated space as well as a small kitchen to cook meals. The department is planning on each responder staying up to two weeks in the isolated space which coincides with the incubation period of the virus. 

While the department is starting with just 6 parks, Berry says that more could become available depending on the need of a specific region. 

The parks department is doing its best to prepare as quickly and safely as possible. 

“We’ve got to get the staff back in, get the cottages reopened, etc. So we’ll get that done as quickly as possible and then make them available for move-in,” says Berry. 

While the cottages are not officially open for service, the department has already received three request forms from various EOC’s. 

The parks department is hoping to let first responders into the lodges within 24 to 48 hours of being approved.