County gets recreational grant to link park trails

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By Dave Taylor

The News-Democrat

Carroll County has been awarded $65,500 in grant money to be used to launch a park to park trails project that will eventually connect Point Park, General Butler State Resort Park and the Robert Westrick Memorial Park.

The announcement was made at Tuesday’s meeting of Carroll County Fiscal Court by Carroll County Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson.

“On the first of May, I received notification from the Federal Highway Administration that we have been awarded a grant for the trails through Carroll County recreational project,” Tomlinson said.

The total cost of the project is $131,000. The balance of the money will come from matching funds that have been committed by local agencies.

Park to park trails is the first phase of a comprehensive land and water trails greenway/blueway initiative that will eventually connect all trails, including parking facilities and adjacent residential and commercial areas, in a city park, county park and state resort park within the county, according to a brief description of the project provided by Joan Moore, executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corp.

The project will provide 14 miles of continuous, interconnected land trails in the county, and will include canoe/kayack access to an additional four miles of blueways on the Kentucky River, from Lock No. 1 to Carrollton’s Point Park at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers.

Efforts to secure the funding began in November with the county’s Recreational Trails Committee, led by Moore. “We had five meetings,” she said of the committee. “One was a three hour meeting with architect David Lose who donated his time as consultant. We’ve had 107 volunteer hours from the community, so there has been a lot of local participation in addition to the donations of money.”

Having that kind of local support helped strengthen the community’s grant proposal for the federal program, Moore said.

Moore prepared a grant proposal to obtain funding through the Recreational Trails Program of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Administered through state governments, the program provides federal funding for development and maintenance of trails for various uses.

RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use, according to www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails,  the Web site of the Federal Highway Administration.

The program provides funds that must be matched 100 percent. Matching funds can be monetary or can be in the form of in-kind work, such as trail clearing by volunteers or any other work or materials donated to the project.

 “All of the local matching funds have been committed,” Moore said. “Fiscal Court has committed $41,956 from the general fund, and $7,200 from the forest account. The remaining $24,000 is either money or in-kind donations of labor or materials that have been committed, all by local agencies.”

The project will convert an abandoned section of Lock Road into a multi-use walking trail. The section of roadway has been closed by the highway department due to slides. The eight-foot-wide trail will wind through the woods 2,200 feet and come out at Hwy. 227. Signage will be installed to direct trail users to cross the highway at the traffic light and follow Jay Louden Road until it connects with 5.5 miles of walking trail at Robert Westrick Park. The committee plans to create a 2,300-foot “soft” trail, marked out with limestone, which would lead from the end of Lock Road to the lake trail at Butler Park. This trail connects to all seven miles of trails within the state park.

Another aspect of the project will be to develop a small parking area at Lock No. 1, with an access area to the Kentucky River for canoeing and kayacking. The parking area will be large enough to accommodate school buses that could bring children to the site.

“We really need an advocate or trail coordinator to step up and lead us forward on this project,” Moore said, “or perhaps a couple of people who would be willing to serve as co-chairs.”

Interested individuals may contact Moore at (502) 732-7035.