First phase of trails now ready to use

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Though the project hasn’t extended as far as originally planned, state, county and city officials gathered at the National Guard Armory Tuesday to officially open Phase One of the Park to Park Trails project.

Elaine Wilson, state Executive Director of the Office of Adventure Tourism, attended Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, along with Jerry Graves, executive director of the Kentucky River Authority; Kentucky Riverkeeper Pat Banks; Carrollton Mayor Gene McMurry, Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson; Bob Yoder, executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation, and others.

Former CCCDC Executive Director Joan Moore had the honor of cutting the ribbon. Moore was responsible for obtaining a federal grant to help fund the project, which uses trails and sidewalks to connect Lock 1 on the Kentucky River to trails in General Butler State Resort Park.

In 2010, Moore secured a $65,500 grant from the Recreational Trails Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The remaining $35,000 was matched by Carroll County Fiscal Court, which has set aside another $130,000 for the project in its 2013-14 budget.

At this point, the trail starts at Lock 1 and goes through Butler Park, winding around the lake and behind employee housing, then behind the armory to Jay Louden Road, where it turns and crosses Hwy. 227 ending in front of Sonic restaurant.

Eventually, the trail will continue to the county’s Robert Westrick Memorial Park. Because the trail from Lock 1 to Jay Louden Road had to be rerouted due to a slide area along the river, the total $110,000 in funding for Phase One ran out before the trail to the county park could be completed, Yoder said.

During the next phase, that trail will be continued to the county park and, eventually, walking trails also will link Lock 1 to Point Park. Those two locations are linked by the Kentucky River, a “blueway” that can be traveled by kayak or canoe.

Once completed, the project will provide outdoor enthusiasts with 18 miles of continuous trails within the city and county.

Tomlinson and Yoder said they also hope to expand the project to include Camp Kysoc, which would add another three miles of hiking trails to the system. Tomlinson said officials will meet with the landscape architect for the new Jefferson Community and Technical College campus – to be located next to Kysoc and across Hwy. 227 from the front entrance to Butler Park – to plan that portion of the project.

Yoder said he also plans to pursue additional state and federal grants later this year to help fund the rest of the project.