PRESTONSBURG – Community leaders and volunteers came together Thursday night at Prestonsburg City Hall to discuss the future of Prestonsburg and how best to achieve certified Trail Town status.
Dozens were in attendance at last weeks meeting including officials from Prestonsburg city government, Big Sandy Area Development District, Jenny Wiley State Resort Parks, and several local volunteers.
During the meeting discussions were had about goals that need to be reached in order for Prestonsbrug to be certified an official trail town.
“Our quickest option, and we’re blessed because we already got it in place is the water trail,” said Mayor Les Stapleton. The Big Sandy Water trail has been active for a couple of years, and according to Stapleton there are only a few minor issues to work out. Notably among those is signage along the river to advise boaters of ramps, and mile markers.
Trying to obtain the necessary objectives as quickly as possible is paramount says Stapleton, as the Trail Town initiative was an issue endorsed primarily by First Lady Jane Beshear. Stapleton says that after Governor Steve Beshear leaves office at the first of the year, who knows what may happen.
The process has been broken up into several sub-committees that will work on various aspects of the trail town certification, including: trail route advisory, merchant, volunteer, signage, and funding, public relations, and education.
“It’s a pretty daunting task of paper work,” said Cliff Latta, chairman of the Trail Town Committee. “We’re going to develop a trail, but we have to qualify not only with the trail, but with the amenities for us to be a trail town. Its obvious we can take a boat down the river and float and say we went down a trail , but its the stuff in town that we’re going to be gauged on.”
The city currently has multiple trails in and around the area, and plans for even more, including future connections to the Dawkins Line.
According to Stapleton, work has been ongoing with other mayors along the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River to eventually make one large trail that begins near Elkhorn City, and travels to Louisa.
Stapleton said during the meeting that another committee he has put into place is a safety committee, stating that reviewers like to see plans put in place regarding safety procedures.
“Any time we have had a float so far, we have had an emergency management plan in place.”
The part of the river that the committee is going to focus on for the purpose of the trail town certification is between the put in behind Billy Ray’s Restaurant in Prestonsburg and the new ramp behind Combs Airport.
According to Stapleton, there is still a little cleanup to be conducted along the river. “Not much at all,” said Stapleton. There are a few places, one significant dump that he says the county may assist with, and a few straight pipes that need to be addressed.
Sub-committee’s will now continue to work and meet together until the criteria of the application are met. Anyone interested in contributing to a sub-committee, or volunteering with trail construction, may contact city hall at (606) 886-1989.
Jackson Latta can be reached at (606) 886-8506.