Tourism, main street team up for open forum

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Middlesboro Main Street is holding an open meeting for the local citizens to express their views concerning the recreational needs of the community.

“We are hoping that through the city and main street, we can secure funding which can help make our downtown more walkable,” Middlesboro Main Street Director Emily Ayers explained. “The Historic Canal Walk is a fantastic project that deserves attention, and we hope to apply for a Recreational Trails Program Grant to help fund its renovation.”

The forum for discussion and open meeting is being held just before the Middlesboro City Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall. The regular monthly meeting of the Middlesboro City Council will be held directly after at 7 p.m.

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The specific purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the proposed improvements in hopes to find funding for those improvements such as the park at 30th Street. Those improvement may include a walking trail, various signage, and improved lighting.

Ayers will be making a presentation during the same meeting in preparation of applying for a Recreational Trail Program grant that, if awarded, will be used for improvements along the Historic Middlesboro Canal Walk. The project is expected to be completed in phases.

“The first phase would ideally include improvements to lighting, trail signage, and interpretative panels, with subsequent phases addressing some critical construction improvements that we will need specific permits to complete,” explained Ayers. “The other grant we hope to apply for is a Land and Water grant, which we are hoping to use to fund improvements to the city park at 30th Street near the airport.”

Bell County Tourism Director Jon Grace explains that there are many other improvements that will need to be completed in subsequent phases, but these are the improvements that are currently relevant to the meeting.

“We hope that people will come out and voice their opinions on these projects as we hopefully move forward in applying for these grants,” Ayers said.

They encourage anyone with a significant supporting or opposing view to come out and voice their opinion at the meeting. They also encourage writing to Land and Water Conservation Fund Program; Governor’s Office, Department for Local Government, 1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 340, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 within two weeks of the date of the meeting.