Plan would create 200 miles of multi-use trails in Scott County

July 15, 2014

legacyGabe Schmuck, 9, left, Nate Schmuck, 5, and their father, Paul Schmuck, rode on the Legacy Trail in Lexington in 2012. Photo by Mark Ashley.

GEORGETOWN — The popular Legacy Trail out of Lexington now stops just short of the Scott County line at the Kentucky Horse Park. But what is now the end of the trail could someday be just the beginning.

Scott County leaders have worked for three years with the regional visioning group Bluegrass Tomorrow and the National Park Service to develop an ambitious plan for Kentucky’s most extensive trails network. Plans call for 200 miles of biking, hiking, horseback riding and waterway trails throughout Scott County.

“Our vision is that this is going to eventually branch out and include the whole region,” said John Simpson, director of Georgetown/Scott County Tourism.

The Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Trails Alliance unveiled a draft of the proposed master plan Monday at the monthly meeting of the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce.

Alliance leaders hope to finish the plan by the end of the year and begin negotiating property easements, designing trails, raising private money and applying for federal transportation grants.

Some trails would be shared, with bike/pedestrian and horse paths side-by-side, but most would be separate. The plan was developed with help from interested residents during a June 2013 design workshop, and the alliance is eager for more public participation.

At this point, there are no cost estimates, but such a trails network would run well into the millions of dollars. Still, many officials think it would be a great investment.

“This has the potential to have a tremendous impact, economically and socially, on the community,” said Russell Clark, the alliance’s National Park Service representative.

Clark and Rob Rumpke, president of Bluegrass Tomorrow, cited the economic impact that trail systems have had on Damascus, Va., a once-depressed logging town where hikers and mountain bikers now flock to the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper trails; Loveland, Ohio; and Indiana’s Brown County.

The trails alliance has more than a dozen partners, including the cities of Georgetown, Sadieville and Lexington; Scott County Fiscal Court; the state tourism department; the Horse Park; the Kentucky Horse Council; Georgetown College; the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture; the Bluegrass Area Development District; St. Joseph Health System/Kentucky One; and several horseback-riding and cycling groups.

Rumpke said horse trails should be especially popular, given the number of local horse enthusiasts and the tourists who come to Central Kentucky to see horse farms and events.

“We’re the horse capital of the world; why are there so few horseback-riding facilities?” he asked. “This is an opportunity to address that.”

The first step in the plan is to extend the Legacy Trail 6.6 miles from the horse park to Georgetown. Christie Robinson chairs a steering committee that commissioned an engineering feasibility study, which was recently completed. The study estimates the total cost at about $8.3 million, including trailheads, bathrooms and other amenities. It could be built in four phases as money became available.

Georgetown recently awarded the Legacy Trail committee $25,000 as a match to a $100,000 federal grant that it will apply for this fall, Robinson said. That would move the design process forward.

Claude Christensen, mayor of Sadieville, said he sees the trail system as an opportunity to revitalize his town of 303 people at the northern tip of Scott County. Sadieville is applying for “trail town” status with state tourism officials. But it needs trails.

“It’s huge for Sadieville,” Christensen said. “It makes us a destination.”

Simpson, the tourism official, said many Scott County business and government leaders support trails development because they have seen the economic benefit that road cycling enthusiasts have had in the area.

The Bluegrass Cycling Club’s annual Horsey Hundred ride each Memorial Day weekend is based at Georgetown College. This year, more than 2,000 cyclists came from all over North America to ride Central Kentucky’s scenic back roads on marked routes ranging from 25 to 104 miles.

Georgetown hosted a downtown party for the cyclists, who filled Georgetown College’s residence halls and more than half of the 1,100 local motel rooms. A big group from Ontario, Canada, came for an entire week of cycling before the event.

An extensive trail network, along with Central Kentucky’s world-class cycling roads, could make Georgetown a major recreation destination, Simpson said.

“We’re at the starting point of something that could be phenomenal,” he said. “It could bring thousands of tourists to our community and enhance our own quality of life.”


Project promotes public transportation, public art

April 14, 2010

Yvette Hurt, an environmental lawyer and anti-smoking advocate, doesn’t have a background in public art or public transportation. But Art in Motion, the all-volunteer organization she and science teacher Scott Diamond started four years ago, has had a big effect on both.

Art in Motion has built two public-art bus shelters in Lexington, has two more approved for construction and is planning more. The organization will have a fund-raiser Saturday night.

“Sometimes I wonder how I got involved in this,” said Hurt, who was co-chair of Bluegrass Action, which pushed for Lexington’s 2004 public smoking ban. “I like art and public art, but I really see it as an environmental project. Building public transportation in Lexington is a huge environmental issue.”

The design for Art in Motion’s fourth bus shelter was chosen Monday from among 18 proposals by an eight-member jury of representatives from LexTran, the University of Kentucky, LexArts and the Aylesford Neighborhood Association. By fall, it should be in place on Euclid Avenue at Linden Walk, beside the UK Alumni House.

The garden-themed shelter was designed by Prajna Design & Construction, a Lexington firm whose principals and staff are all UK College of Architecture graduates.

The design is inspired by the simple sheds found on some Bluegrass horse farms. Made primarily of recycled steel and salvaged barn oak, the shelter will include a “green” roof of blooming sedum plants, a wall of ivy and low-voltage LED lighting.

“It’s not just public art; it’s a shelter. That’s what attracted us to it,” said Garry Murphy of Prajna. “I like the idea of architecture as art, and expressing a city’s individual qualities.”

Claudia Michler, who was on the jury as a neighborhood representative, said Prajna’s design stood out. “I think it will be nice to drive down that street and see a functional art piece,” she said. “Now it’s really a dull corner; it’s just concrete and asphalt and automobiles.”

The third Art in Motion shelter, Bluegrass, on Newtown Pike across from the Fayette County Health Department, also is expected to be completed in the fall, about the same time Garden Shelter is built. The Bluegrass shelter’s roof is supported by blue steel pipes resembling blades of grass, and the back has frames for two-dimensional art that can be changed periodically.

Art in Motion’s two completed shelters have drawn much public praise: The first, Bottlestop on Versailles Road, was finished in January 2009 and was built with translucent walls made from green Ale 8 One bottles. The East End Artstop, at Third Street and Elm Tree Lane diagonally across from the Lyric Theater, includes murals and a colorful sculpture called Lyrical Movement.

Each of the two newest shelters will cost about half the $36,000 that was needed for Artstop. UK contributed $12,000 toward Garden Shelter. Last August, Art in Motion and LexTran received a $150,000 federal grant through the state to help with future shelter projects. Other funding has come from a variety of sources, including LexTran and private donations of money and services.

Because Art in Motion, a part of the Bluegrass Community Foundation, is an all-volunteer effort, all money raised goes to shelter construction, Hurt said.

“Public art is the art that crosses all boundaries,” Hurt said. “In this case, it helps attract ‘choice’ riders to public transportation — people who could drive if they chose to. The more choice riders you attract, the more efficient public transportation becomes, and that’s good for the environment.”

If you go

Art in Motion Shakedown

What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

Admission: $8 donation at the door.

More info: Aimlex.wordpress.com

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  • If you go

    Art in Motion Shakedown

    What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

    When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

    Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

    Admission: $8 donation at the door.

    More info: www.art-in-motion.us.

  • If you go

    Art in Motion Shakedown

    What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

    When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

    Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

    Admission: $8 donation at the door.

    More info: www.art-in-motion.us.

  • If you go

    Art in Motion Shakedown

    What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

    When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

    Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

    Admission: $8 donation at the door.

    More info: www.art-in-motion.us.

  • If you go

    Art in Motion Shakedown

    What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

    When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

    Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

    Admission: $8 donation at the door.

    More info: www.art-in-motion.us.

  • If you go

    Art in Motion Shakedown

    What: Dance party and silent art auction to benefit Art in Motion.

    When: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. April 17.

    Where: Buster’s Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St.

    Admission: $8 donation at the door.

    More info: www.art-in-motion.us.