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Committee seeks funding to connect parks with trails

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Imagine seven miles of walking and hiking trails that could take you from General Butler State Resort Part to Carroll County’s Robert Westrick Memorial Park.

Connecting the two parks with a new trail along the abandoned Lock Road is one of the goals of the county’s Recreational Trails Committee, led by Joan Moore, executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation.

On Wednesday, the committee voted to start working to raise money to build an 8-foot-wide, 2,200-foot asphalt trail that will stretch from Lock 1 on the Kentucky River to Westrick Park, using the bed of the abandoned Lock Road as a base.

Paving would only be required for about 1,800 feet, because pavement still exists on a portion of the old Lock Road, most of which was washed out during flooding years ago. The road, which extends from 11th Street in Carrollton, comes to a dead-end near Lock 1 of the Kentucky River.

Committee member Terry Roach of Carrollton Utilities volunteered to get estimates for the cost of laying the asphalt for the trail, and possibly to create parking near the dam. The committee also wants to create a place on the bank of the Kentucky near the dam where kayakers and other recreational boaters can launch.

Additionally, the committee plans to create a 2,300-foot “soft” trail, marked out with limestone, which would lead from the end of Lock Road back to the nearest established hiking trail at Butler Park.

Roach said preliminary talks with Ohio Valley Asphalt would put the cost of the asphalt trail at about $39,600, if the area already were graded. The limestone needed for the soft trail would cost about $27,600.

Moore is preparing a grant proposal to obtain funding for the project through the Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration. Administered through state governments, the program provides federal funding for development and maintenance of trails for various uses, including hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, and all-terrain and other off-road motorized vehicles.

The program provides up to $100,000 in funds, which must be matched 100 percent, meaning a project should be in the $200,000 range. Matching funds can be monetary and can be in the form of in-kind work, such as trail clearing by volunteers or any other work or materials donated to the project.

Once detailed estimates for the project are received, Moore said the committee will approach businesses and industry in the county to see what local funding may be available for the project. Moore said having that kind of additional support from the community would help strengthen the committee’s grant proposal for the federal program.

The next step for the committee is to create a master plan, listing all the projects the committee is planning for the county. The committee is hoping to hire consultant David Lose to draw up the plan at an estimated cost of $20,000.

Moore said the committee’s bigger goal is to connect Point Park with Butler Park, possibly taking advantage of the Safe Routes to School plan for which the city recently received nearly $300,000 in state grants. With that funding, the city plans to build or improve sidewalks to connect the four school buildings in the Carroll County district, including sidewalks to be installed along the planned extension of Polk Street, between Hwy. 227 and 11th Street.

Connecting Point Park to Butler would add another nine miles of trails, Moore said.

Committee member D’anne Smith said she believes the additional trails would be a big draw for people who may be thinking of moving to the area.

“This county is so unique, with its rivers, a state park, and friendly people,” Smith said. “To live in a place with this kind of resource is a big thing, and will help the economy, in the long run. … This $20,000 [for the master plan] sounds like a lot, but it’s a good investment.”