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If there is one thing that everyone agrees on, it’s that Carrollton and Carroll County have lots of potential.
Those of us who have moved here in the past decade have heard this repeatedly. We’re not alone, because life-long residents have heard this throughout their lives.
Why do people say we have this potential?
It only takes a few minutes to come up with an impressive list of the items that make this the point of agreement.
We are situated in a great location at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers, just off a major interstate highway. And we are less than an hour from two major cities.
Just look at the possibilities for our downtown and the riverfront.
Each year, thousands of visitors come to the community to visit General Butler State Resort Park. And that number is going to rise dramatically next year as Kentucky Speedway hosts its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race next July.
While it closed this year, we have the facilities that housed Camp Kysoc.
I’ll stop here because many of the things I want to discuss in this short space are mentioned right here.
I believe we are at a crucial point in time when action by our leaders can lead our community to greater opportunities.
What do we need from them?
In Carrollton, we’ve had enough talk about a riverwalk. It’s time to make it a reality.
City council and Mayor Dwight Louden have made headway in improving the look of our riverfront. Purchasing property, such as that owned by the Liters, has made a dramatic change in the look of our best asset.
That must continue all the way up to the Fifth Street boat ramp, opening the way for a riverwalk along the Kentucky and Ohio rivers in downtown.
Louden and the current council must continue their mission, and new mayor Gene McMurry and the new council that take office next year must pick up where current leaders leave off and see this to fruition.
To go along with this, city leaders must get an Enterprise Incentive Program going again to spur business development and improvement in the downtown business district.
Officials were unhappy with the old EIP program because it didn’t ensure that the building would be occupied by a business or that new jobs would be created.
City leaders must look to other cities, find programs that work and implement one here to get development happening again.
There is also work that must happen in the county.
Judge Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson has been working with a group to save Camp Kysoc.
The group held a 50th anniversary event to begin fundraising to reopen the facility that was abandoned by Cardinal Hills Healthcare early this year.
Carroll County fiscal court must step up to the plate and ensure the funding is in place to secure Kysoc’s future. Yes, even if that means the county puts up the money to get the camp going.
We have a facility sitting idle that can create jobs and bring visitors and their dollars to Carrollton. Letting the camp sit and deteriorate and go unused for another year would be inexcusable.
By taking the lead on this effort, fiscal court could then work to find or develop an organization that would keep Camp Kysoc running for the next 50 years.
They might even explore the possibilities of using the talent that will be on the future Jefferson Community and Technical College’s Carrollton campus right next door to assist with operating the camp.
Local people are looking for jobs as the economy remains rocky. Quick, decisive action on these fronts could turn that around.
Next year when the car loads of visitors come to Butler Park or the Kentucky Speedway, they will want to visit downtown Carrollton. Reopening Camp Kysoc will also bring more carloads, even busloads of people to town for special events.
This will mean that money is pumped into the local economy and jobs for local folks.
The potential is clear.
It is now up to our leaders to make it happen.
Jeff Moore is publisher of The News-Democrat and The Trimble Banner. He resides in Carrollton, Ky.