Boone park nearing reality

Published 1:38 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

Middlesboro will, sometime in the near future, become the site of a park dedicated to Daniel Boone if all parties involved continue to agree.

Sam Compton, president of the Boone Society, presented his organization’s plans to the Middlesboro City Council during its October meeting. He has been before the council in the past, and wanted to update council members on the project.

His proposal is to erect a 13-foot bronze statue of Boone in a park within Middlesboro. The proposed park would be developed where a recreation area currently exists, an area now called “Horseshoe Park.” The area would include interpretative materials and would be a stop on the Boone Trace Corridor. The other two local stops along the corridor will be at Martin’s Station in the Wilderness Road State Park and at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

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The purpose of each stop is to educate and “make the guest want to learn more,” Compton said.

Because the proposed park is located in an area that’s already currently in the city’s parks and recreation system, it will not cost taxpayers any extra money, Mayor Bill Kelley told the council and those in the audience.

“We’re currently in the development stages of a brochure,” Compton said, adding that paver bricks will be sold to help raise money for the project.

He added that the target date to have a ribbon cutting for the Boone Trace Corridor is June 23, 2018 at Fort Boonesborough.

Compton has been working with Jon Grace, director of Bell County Tourism, as well as other Tri-State area officials, to make the project a reality. A goal is to make the Tri-State area a destination vacation — not just a place tourists pass through, he said. The Cumberland Gap Regional Tourism Association is on board and helping with the project as well, he said.

“You’ve pitched the perfect project that already meets many of our initiatives,” said council member Blake Bowling, adding that he felt everyone was supportive of the project.

Kelley asked that Compton have something more concrete so the council could have an “up or down” vote, and Compton said he would present something to the council in the future.

The second reading of an ordinance amending the city’s zoning map was approved unanimously, as was the ad valorem tax levy on both real and personal property. The tax levies are the same as in past years, Kelley said.