Phase I of its bicycle path
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (May 2003) New life is being pumped
into what was once a major mode of transportation in Oldham County.
Six decades after being abandoned, the process has begun to revamp the
old Interurban railways trail, which ran from La Grange to Louisville.
Rail Trail Statistics
Number of open trails: 5
Miles of open trails: 11
Number of trail projects: 17
Miles of trail projects: 160
Average visit is 2 hours in length..
Men and women comprise an equal percentage of users
88 percent of nearby landowners use the trail an average
of 85 days
The longest trail in Kentucky is the seven-mile River Walk
in Louisville, with two miles of rail trail.
Source: Kentucky Rails to Trails Council website at www.kyrailtrail.org
This huge undertaking is the premiere project of the nonprofit
group, Greenways for Oldham County. Greenways was organized in 1997
by individuals who wanted to preserve open spaces and create a network
of recreational areas in the county.
In place of the rails that once churned their path through the countryside,
Greenways members now hope bicyclists and walkers will pound down the
same pathway. When completed, the 13-mile, multi-use Interurban Greenways
Trail would provide access to soccer fields, the Oldham County YMCA,
schools, subdivisions, parks and recreatio nal facilities.
Phase I of the three-part project is currently under contract, said
Greenways member Paul Clinton. Carrollton-based Ohio Valley Asphalt
Co. will lay a 10-foot wide asphalt pathway from the old L&N train
depot on East Main Street to Sixth Street.
Greenways received a Transportation Equity Act-21 grant for the funding
of Phase I, which covered the purchase and renovation of the depot,
and a paved parking lot at the depot. This stretch of trail covers 0.6
miles and is expected to be completed this summer.
Part of the depot has been set aside for trail users, said Clinton.
It will contain restrooms and trail information. The Oldham County Chamber
of Commerce plans to move its offices into the depot, along with the
Oldham County Economic Development Authority.
Greenways applied for a Recreational Trails grant for Phase II funding
but was turned down. Applying for grant funding can be an involved process,
with a variety of reasons for grant rejection. After a certain length
of time has elapsed, Greenways can re-apply for Phase II funding.
L&N Train Depot
Plans were recently unveiled for the second and third
segments of the trail. Phase II will be approximately two miles in length,
with a proposed cost of $268,400. The trail will begin at Wendell Moore
Park, continue on to Buckner and connect the YMCA near I-71 with the
soccer fields along Hwy. 146, plus 54 acres near the Oldham County Country
Phase III would add a 1.6 section of trail through Crestwood at a projected
cost of $209,300. Beginning at the Hwy. 329 Bypass, it would extend
to Glen Arm Road.
The Crestwood section would join with a seven-foot-wide sidewalk to
be built by the South Oldham Lions Club, beginning at the Dairy Queen
in Crestwood and continuing on to the Hwy. 329 Bypass. The Lions Club
built a mile-long sidewalk 20 years ago along Hwy. 146 from Ash Avenue
in Pewee Valley to Floydsburg Road in Crestwood.
Federal transportation enhancement money provides the main funding for
this trail. This is money generated by a gas tax and sent to the state.
Greenways is seeking $382,260 of this money, with grants to be announced
in fall 2003.
Because the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet cannot give money to private,
nonprofit organizations, this money is funded to cities and towns for
projects with community wide benefits. Greenways needed the sponsorship
of Oldham County Fiscal Court to apply for funding for the estimated
overall cost of $477,700. With the state contributing 80 percent, a
20 percent match would have to be split between Greenways and Fiscal
Court, with each contributing $47,770.
Magistrate Duane Murner said that Fiscal Court is unanimous in supporting
Greenways, having given money to the group several times in the past.
Although this project may not be the courts first priority, Murner
said Fiscal Court is committed to putting the project into this years
Our budget is tight, as is all governmental budgets, he
said. If the project were to become a major burden on Fiscal Court,
we would have to slow down on it, he said.
Murner considers the project an asset to the county. It provides more
opportunities for enjoying the county, and will possibly be connected
to a 225-acre conservation park to be created on Hwy. 524 E. in the
northeastern part of Oldham County, he said.
Sarah Moser is the newest community planner hired by the Oldham County
Planning and Zoning Commission to act as a representative for the county
in overseeing construction of Phase I. Moser holds a five-year degree
in landscape architecture with the University of Kentucky. In her previous
role as a design consultant, she has had experience in private practice,
implementing such landscaping upgrades as urban plazas and streetscapes.
Greenways is still collecting information for its master plan, said
Moser. The plan lays out a guide for the county, said Joann Green. Green
is president of CBA Inc., a landscaping architectural firm in Indianapolis.
She has been hired by the county as a consultant for Phase I and the
The plan provides a sense of where the trail needs to go,
said Green, who has also been filling out grant applications, in addition
to providing the master plan. The plan drafts opportunities for connector
trails, she said, since right-of-way issues are still being ironed out.
On June 12 at 7 p.m. at the John Black Community Center in Buckner,
a public information session will be held, said Moser. Attendees will
be able to view the completed draft and express their interest in this
Once a master plan is in effect, Greenways will hire someone to conduct
deed research, said Clinton. This information will be used to identify
parcels of land along the proposed route, easements and right-of-ways.
Three parcels of land have been donated to the project, said Clinton,
and the trail will run in front of Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood.
A preliminary deed research has revealed that TARC holds ownership of
the some of the old electric rail, said Clinton.
Moser said this project is a new way for the community to connect.
It will bring people outdoors. She said it might eventually become
a regional link to other counties, such as Jefferson and Henry counties.
Jefferson County, Ky., has completed a project similar to the Greenways
Interurban Trail in the construction of its Louisville Riverwalk, which
boarders the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. As another example,
Clinton cited a 3.7-mile trail recently built in Clermont, Ky., at the
Bernheim Forest and Arboretum. This hike and bike trail was built along
an old roadbed with $200,000 in federal grant money.
When completed, the Greenways Interurban Trail will become part of the
Oldham County Parks System. The county retains ownership of the trail
and its amenities.
Greenways president Judy Hall said, We never planned on being
property owners. Her vision of the project is for the trail to
be shared by the public and to promote a healthier lifestyle among adults
Green said that what makes this project unique is the diverse
environment that it extends through, connecting three communities.
It provides the opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the original
Moser said that in using the depot as one of many trailheads, the project
is enhancing one aspect of a piece of La Granges history.
This project has taken a long time and they still have a long
way to go, said Murner. I admire their tenacity.
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