By Keith Kappes - Publisher
Nov. 14, 2012 — Olive Hill’s efforts to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town took a big step forward on Friday when Gov. Steve Beshear announced a $25,000 grant for trail improvements along Tygart’s Creek downtown.
“This is wonderful news and we are very pleased to receive the grant on behalf of the hard working citizens on the Trail Town Task Force who are leading the effort to expand tourism in our community,” said Mayor Danny Sparks.
The grant is among 21 totaling $1.13 million in recreational trail program funding for developing and maintaining trails throughout Kentucky.
The Olive Hill grant will be used to improve an existing trail along the creek and to construct a trailhead restroom facility, according to Kim King, community development coordinator, who wrote the grant application.
“We have been expecting an announcement for a few weeks,” King said. “We are glad to have the funds and now can move forward with detailed planning.”
King added that the grant has to be matched but that the committee believes it can do so with in-kind donations of labor, materials and equipment.
Work is expected to begin next spring.
Debbie Baker Harman, a leader of the task force, said additional funding is being sought for landscaping and other improvements on trails along the creek.
“We believe this first grant will open the doors to other support for further development of the trailhead area,” she stated. “We also envision beautiful trails with campsites and other features.”
Nici Raybourn, Bob Coleman, Sen. Robin Webb and others also have been heavily involved in the Trail Town initiative since earlier this year.
Olive Hill already has hosted two successful heritage trail rides and the City Council decided not to sell the former airport so that the property could be used to support trail activities.
Recreational trail funds come from the Federal Highway Administration and are administered in Kentucky by the Department for Local Government.
“Recreational trails help spur economic development, increase property values and aid in land conservation throughout our state,” Beshear said in announcing the funding. “These grants have been a valuable resource to our communities, and I am pleased we can continue to fund worthwhile trail projects in Kentucky.”
Trail grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.
Examples of trail uses include hiking, cycling, inline skating, equestrian use, off-road motorcycling and all-terrain vehicle riding.
Since 2008, First Lady Jane Beshear has been a leader in enhancing and promoting adventure tourism across the state.
“We are fortunate to live in a state filled with unique, natural resources and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and tourism ventures,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The trail funding helps Kentucky towns and counties develop their recreational projects so they can offer top-quality tourism destinations and promote healthy, active lifestyles in their own communities.”
Keith Kappes can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 800-247-6142.