The county would be required to deed the property and house over to the state, Napier said, when the deal happens. The state then would have control over the site, as well as provide funding for keeping it up.
"It will advance the publicity and tourism interest because the state would then have it on all their brochures, so it will get more advertisement," Napier said.
Although the bill passed through the A&R Committee "by a 100 percent vote" this week, according to Napier, Parks Commissioner J.T. Miller opposes the bill because it doesn't include funding.
"In my nine-month tenure as state parks commissioner, I've been approached by 10 people or groups that want to give the Parks Department something to be put under the state's care," Miller said. Those offers included three golf courses and other historical sites. "I simply cannot take these things without funding," he said.
State control and funding
"If I were to take one, how would I refuse the rest? I'd have to take all of them. "I understand that Rep. Napier says (Rep. Harry) Moberly says he's committed to putting in funding toward this in next year's budget, but current legislature cannot commit a future legislature to action," Miller said. Miller said there is no guarantee that the Parks Department will receive additional operating funds.
Susan Ledford, executive director of the Owsley House and secretary for its foundation, said she's all for state control and funding. "My only concern is that funding is available if this goes through," Ledford said. "What happens if the bill goes through in July, and it's under state control, but there's no money available until a year later?"
Miller said if the bill does pass the House, where he feels certain it will, and goes through the Senate, there will be no funds to operate it for a year. The historical site will continue on as it has until there is funding available. "We could do nothing. Just like the nine other things people have approached me for that they want to make into a state historic site, without funding I cannot do it," Miller said. "But the Senate will consider (HB 467) like every other bill the House sends through, and obviously we'll do whatever the legislature tells us to." But, Miller said, his department will be asked by the Senate A&R Committee for testimony concerning it.
"And the fact that we have no money to operate it, and I oppose it until it does include funding, is what I'll tell them, which is what I told Wilson and Napier," Miller said.
Ledford said there is roughly $40,000 left in the checking account for the Owsley House.
"And about $17,000 of that consists of donations that have been designated to go for painting and repair," she said.
There is also roughly $15,000 left in an endowment fund, which cannot be touched and is used to earn interest.