community resource for Oldham Countians
Helen E. McKinney
(May 2006) Ashli Collins and her husband are
active runners and triathlon athletes. They were discouraged that there
was no place in Oldham County to pursue their hobby. That is, until
they stumbled upon Greenways for Oldham County two years ago.
by Don Ward
Oldham County Interurban Trail
begins at the former train depot in
La Grange. It houses the chamber office.
Established in 1998, Greenways is a nonprofit organization
assisting the county in developing a cycling and pedestrian trail that
would link La Grange and Pewee Valley. The original route was to follow
the old Interurban Railroad corridor, but an environmental study later
deemed this path unfeasible. Connector corridors would integrate walking,
horse and bike paths.
Collins is now vice president of Greenways and recently gave a Powerpoint
presentation highlighting the health benefits that such a trail could
offer the citizens of Oldham County. Her presentation was part of a
Community Forum held April 18 at the John W. Black Community Center
in Buckner, Ky., to showcase the progress and future goals of Greenways.
Collins is concerned with improving the quality of life due to her vocation.
She is a pediatrician in La Grange. She thinks Greenway trails would
provide inexpensive recreational options and a safe place for children
to learn to ride their bikes.
The forum also featured Keith Lovan, president of Kentucky Rails to
Trails. Lovan spoke about the economic impact trails have around the
country and their effect on tourism.
The keynote speaker for the evening was David Adkisson. This former
Mayor of Owensboro, Ky., was instrumental in getting a trail put
in Owensboro, said Amy Jackson, board member of Greenways. Unsure
of the idea at first, Now people flock to it.
The Owensboro trail is 11 miles long and will eventually stretch to
16, said Adkisson, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He
cited many recreational and economic benefits to Oldham County for having
such a trail.
Oldham County is uniquely suited for greenways, said Adkisson.
The growth of the county will help the development of Greenways
for Oldham County.
Adkisson said the Owensboro community was skeptical of the trail at
first because residents didnt understand the entire concept. Linear
parks are the parks of the 21st century, he said.
The trail was begun in the early 1990s and is extremely popular. Its
very active on summer evenings, said Adkisson.
Oldham County needs such a trail to attract and keep active young adults
and families within the county, Adkisson believes. With communities
and industry competing every day for young talent, Greenway trails,
soccer fields and Internet access are amenities a community needs to
offer, said Adkisson.
Funding for the Owensboro trail was 80 percent federal, with the remaining
20 percent coming from a variety of sources. Developers donated land
around their developments that counted toward the match, and conservation
funds were used as well as local dollars.
The county and the city of La Grange are applying for federal Transportation
Enhancement Authority (TEA) grants that might benefit Greenways. The
county is really on board with us now, said Jackson. This
has created new momentum with this project.
The trail will be 10-12 feet wide. The consultants for a portion of
the second phase of the trail are Strand Associates, Inc. said Tiffany
Adams, Planning Technician for Oldham County Planning & Zoning.
This portion of the tail is still in the preliminary engineering and
Plans call for development of a two-mile stretch of trail along Commerce
Parkway, beginning at Allen Lane in La Grange and ending at Hwy. 393
in Buckner. A TEA grant application was submitted in late March to cover
construction costs, said Adams.
A portion of this grant money would also be used for an additional 1.2
acres from Allen Lane to Hwy. 53. The consulting firm of HNTB is working
on the Hwy. 53 improvement project, which would expand the potential
for a pedestrian walkway along that route.
Some of the trail will be built in conjunction with state road improvements
slated for this summer. Sidewalk improvements will be made to Hwy. 53
near the Oldham 8 Cinemas, said Adams. There is also a TARC bus pickup
spot located within this lot. By connecting a Greenway trail to it,
the city would have an interconnecting transportation system, said Adams.
Many universities and resort communities have Greenways,
said Adkisson. He added that Greenways for Oldham County needs
an elected official who becomes a champion for its cause. A dedicated
group of citizens will help carry the project toward its completion,
The Oldham County Planning and Zoning Commission plans to hold a public
interest forum when contractors are chosen for the next phase of the
Greenways for Oldham County is planning a public meeting in May to establish
committees to tackle specific issues involved with the trail project.
For more information, contact Amy Jackson
at (502) 821-7454.
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