September 3, 2015 Share

Sen. Girdler suggests one time zone for entire region

After recently announcing his intent to re-introduce a bill that would push back the start of the school year — and extend the tourism season in the process — Senator Chris Girdler is now lobbying for all counties bordering Lake Cumberland to be in the Eastern Time Zone to better accommodate tourists.

In an August 12 letter sent to various officials in the six-county region, Sen. Girdler offers to provide Clinton, Cumberland and Russell counties — all in the Central Time Zone — with further information about the process of joining Pulaski, McCreary and Wayne counties in the Eastern Time Zone.

 Sen. Girdler told the Commonwealth Journal that he is suggesting the Eastern Time Zone as “the best option given that it is used as a de facto time for all of the United States.” He added that “the majority of the population surrounding Lake Cumberland is already on Eastern Time” and noted that Louisville — Kentucky’s largest city and located further west than the region — also marks Eastern Time.

“After years of discussions with tourism officials, business owners within the tourism industry as well as many visitors to the Lake Cumberland region, I feel it would be good to start the conversation regarding the possibility of all counties bordering Lake Cumberland to be in the Eastern Time Zone,” Sen. Girdler writes. “Wayne County made this switch a few years ago, and I believe it has helped in their economic development and tourism efforts.”

The senator goes on to say that having all the counties within same time zone would not only improve promotion of Lake Cumberland but also interaction between the counties.

“In switching the Central Time Zone counties to the Eastern Time Zone, the constant confusion for our tourists and visitors will be eliminated,” Sen. Girdler writes. “In addition, this change would symbolize unity with the region working together helping to increase economic development and tourism promotion efforts.”

Carolyn Mounce, Executive Director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention & Visitors Bureau, sees the benefit of having the region on one time.

In regard to visitor confusion, Mounce recounted an incident in which a videographer had arranged to meet with her at 8 a.m. but mistakenly arrived at 8:45 a.m. thinking he was on Central time. She also noted that the time difference must be taken into consideration when scheduling regional meetings, while acknowledging the topic hadn’t been discussed at the regional board meeting before.

Adding that she applauds Sen. Girdler for starting the conversation, Mounce said the issue would be discussed at the next meeting of the Kentucky’s Southern Shorelines regional board in October.

“I’ll also bring it up as an FYI when the state associations of CVBs meets next month,” Mounce said of the Kentucky Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, of which she is past president.

“I have received quite a bit of positive feedback in a short amount of time from the letter I issued regarding the Lake Cumberland region and the time zone proposal,” Sen. Girdler stated to the newspaper. “I’ve made it clear that I’m not trying to ‘push’ anything, simply offering the idea up for conversation. I personally believe based

upon personal experience and many conversations with tourists, visitors and people conducting business in our region that it would have a positive impact on tourism promotion, regional unity, and economic development. At

the end of the day it is a simple procedure that would be up to the local communities to decide if it’s something they would like to pursue.”

Commonwealth Journal