Preliminary master plan presented for linking local parks

-A A +A
By Dave Taylor

A committee working on the Carroll County Trails project got its first look Wednesday at a preliminary master plan prepared by a Nashville, Tenn., landscaping architecture and engineering firm.

Michael Pavin, with Lose and Associates, Inc., said the preliminary plan was developed from input provided during the June organizational meeting of the committee. During that meeting, committee members brainstormed ideas for various trail locations, trailheads, information signs and other aspects of developing walking, bicycling and canoeing trails to connect Point Park, General Butler State Resort Park and the Robert Westrick Memorial Park with other local recreational trails.

 “We tried to take what you guys told us and we changed some things a little where we saw some opportunities,” Pavin told the committee during Wednesday’s meeting at Carroll County Public Library. “But this is still preliminary and we want your feedback to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.”

On May 13, 2009, Gov. Steve Beshear, in conjunction with the Recreational Trails Advisory Board, announced $1.3 million for 31 Recreational Trails Program grants to assist communities statewide in developing and maintaining recreational trails. The announcement included $65,500 in federal grant money to launch the Carroll County project.

The local community must contribute matching funds and/or in-kind donations of labor or materials. The local matching funds have already been committed. Fiscal Court 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 by local agencies.

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

An overlook is also planned near the lock area with possible signage giving the history of the locks and dams system of navigation on the Kentucky River. Extensive methods will be taken to prevent the public from getting near the dam due to the danger of drowning and because of liability issues. These methods will include fencing, guardrails, posted signage and vegetation that would discourage access to the site, Pavin said.

“I know the Kentucky River Authority has some concerns about inviting access to the site, but by planting some hedges or prairie roses or things that people don’t like to walk through we can discourage people from actually getting down to the lock,” he said.

A proposed site below the dam for launching canoes will include steps down the riverbank from a parking lot. Rails to slide canoes down to the water would also be installed, Pavin said.

“Down at the canoe launch there will need to be some rules and river authority signage as well as some general water safety guidelines,” he added.

Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said the proposed canoe launching site will need to be moved further downriver from the lock before the river authority would sign off on the plan.

“We’re going to have to be a considerable amount of distance from where they lock,” he said. “Next year they hope to have the locks operating again for a period of time.”

Tomlinson said the canoe launch staging area will have to be located off river authority property.

“Something we felt would be a great opportunity is to provide a ‘gateway’ into Carrollton by building a pedestrian bridge over (Hwy.) 227 to connect the state park and Camp Kysoc,” Pavlin said. “Camp Kysoc is a beautiful piece of property,” and if the trails between the two sections of park property were connected, “it would just further expand the trail system.”

The bridge would offer an opportunity for the city or the state park to incorporate welcome signs for travelers, he said.

Tomlinson asked if there was an estimate per mile of future maintenance costs.

David Lose, of Lose and Associates Inc., said many of the communities his company has worked with on similar projects have used incarcerated labor and volunteer help to maintain trails and pick up trash.

“Do you know what other communities have had to carry on liability insurance?” Tomlinson asked. “In the locks area out there, they’re probably going to require us to have $5 million worth of liability insurance.”

“I’ve never known a community to come in and add an overrider or umbrella because they had trails,” Lose said. “Usually, it’s already covered.”

Tomlinson said because of the canoe launch additional coverage may be required.

“We’re just trying to figure out where we are on costs,” Tomlinson said. “There are going to be some reoccurring costs that we’re going to have to take into consideration, too, and how we’re going to pay for those costs.”

Pavin said Lose and Associates will incorporate feedback from the meeting into the plan before presenting it to various agencies, such as the Kentucky Department of Parks, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Kentucky River Authority for their input and/or approval.