Still no home for historic cabin


by Jackson Latta - jlatta@civitasmedia.com



PRESTONSBURG – Prestonsburg Tourism officials continued to wrestle with the fate of a log cabin purchased by the city in 2010; a cabin which currently sits disassembled on a trailer, in a shed, covered by tarp.

On Tuesday, an unsigned memorandum of agreement was presented to the tourism board members for the placement and erection of the “historic log cabin” to be situated on the the Middle Creek Battlefield. Board Chairman Jim Ousley stated that the operator of the Battlefield foundation, Frank Fitzpatrick, would like to have the cabin on the property as a welcome center.

As part of the agreement, the Middle Creek National Battlefield Foundation Inc. would provide the location; the Tourism commission would provide materials and the means for erecting the cabin, and the Floyd County Fiscal Court would provide some ground and earth work.

But after Tuesday’s meeting, the fate of the cabin remained unsettled as the memorandum never came up for a vote.

The costs involved weighed heavily in the discussions, and one board member, Cliff Latta, expressed concern that no clear use for the building had been determined. “Are we going to restore it? Is it going to be historical? Or is it just going to be a shell,” asked Latta. “To me there are a lot of “if’s” out there. I know we’ve thrown $9000 on it. I don’t want to throw; you know, I’d rather cut losses than keep spending money…”

Latta said while he had no overriding objections to the location, or the cabin, he felt the board needed more information about how the building was going to be restored, to what purpose, and for how much money before they moved forward.

Also related to the potential project, Board Vice Chairman Ralph Little inquired about facilities that would be located at the park.

“What about bathrooms…You’re gonna have to have bathrooms, and running water,” said Little. No determination was made during the meeting with regard to potential for restrooms. Currently there are portable toilets set up at the site.

Floyd County Magistrate Randy Davis was also present during the meeting to discuss the work that the county would be willing to perform in order to improve the battlefield park, including lowering the berm so that the park would be more visible.

“We’re looking at removing part of the berm… and leave like maybe three feet for for a barrier in case of car accident.” Davis added that the county would perform some additional earth work to help make the park ADA compliant, and also work to maintain the grounds to prevent future overgrowth.

Davis said that he had spoken to Judge Executive Ben Hale, and that there could also be an opportunity for the county to secure blacktop for the parking lot as well.

Little stated that he would invite Ronnie Rice, with the city of Prestonsburg, to the next meeting to discuss costs associated with relocating and reassembling the cabin.

Jim Ousley said after the meeting that to his knowledge no one has ever contacted the Kentucky Historical Society to investigate the cabin to determine its historical significance, if any.

“Never been brought up,” said Ousley. “I don’t know. I really don’t. That’s not my expertise.”

It could not be immediately verified if anyone in the city had contacted the Kentucky Heritage Council, State Historic Preservation Office, after the cabin was discovered. Officials with the office did state that if a representative been contacted and reviewed the site, a lot of information regarding the disassembling and reassembling of the cabin, as well as the potential for tax credits and incentives to go toward its restoration could have been available.

The city purchased the cabin for $9000 from a local construction company in 2010 after the structure was discovered behind the facade of a home. The purchase of the building was brought up in a recent audit report conducted by the State Auditors office.

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by Jackson Latta

jlatta@civitasmedia.com

Follow on Twitter @JacksonLatta

Follow on Twitter @JacksonLatta

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