Members of the board and local county governments have reached out to the Estill County's newly appointed Judge Executive, Kevin Williams. While Judge Williams acknowledges the tight fiscal situation that he has inherited, he did state that he is firmly behind the Hollerwood Park project. Estill County still owes the Hollerwood Park board for last years lease payment. We look forward to working more with Estill County and their new leaders.
When Estill County couldn't make their payment, members of the board reached out to other local government organizations. Our hope was that these other groups saw the promise in this project like we all do. Luckily, they did share in our vision and granted us funds. This not only allowed us to make our lease payment, but it also moves the needle much closer towards opening. If you are a supporter of this park, and know someone on the Stanton City Tourism Commission or the Wolfe County Tourism Commission, thank them.
Tony Tipton, Park manager for Hollerwood Park, updated the board on some important items related to our physical property. He's been working with legal counsel to clear up some title issues that are still causing problems. They believe they reached a resolution, but some more work will be required. He also updated the board on possible land swaps with the Forestry Service. Tentatively, the talks seem mutually beneficial for both entities; us gaining important features and they would alleviate themselves of patrolling headaches. Tony will keep the board updated with further talks.
We went over outstanding items that are needed in order to get the park open. Issues of building quality, utilities, and internet dominated the conversation. We also reviewed new concepts regarding trail markers that can be deployed in the park. Many board members took action-items and will report back at the next meeting.
Prep for launch
Park Manager Tony Tipton has been meeting with the Forestry Service concerning some contested boundary issues in the park. We have come to a tentative agreement on where Hollerwood Park ends and the Forestry Service property begins. We will be posting more signs in these areas to let riders know that they are leaving Hollerwood Park. We will be posting some features that are closed to the border that are included and excluded from the park in a future post.
The board discussed plans for shoring up areas of Little & Big Widowmaker. After much discussion, it was decided that the area needs a silt barrier. The board will be working with the local county governments to get a barrier purchased and installed.
Like a good neighbor
Park Manager Tony Tipton reached out to some of the private land owners regarding some other boundary disputes. After some discussion, he reached an agreement that avoided him pushing trespassing issues on his side as long as the riders are made aware that they have left the park.
Still waiting on the money
The board is still waiting to receive Estill County's portion of the lease payment. Letters have been sent from the County Attorney that currently represents the board to all Judge Executives and Fiscal Courts involved in the project. Members of the board have also made numerous attempts to contact representatives of the Estill County government in regards to the status of this payment. This is a serious issue that puts this project in jeopardy. We encourage all supporters of this project to reach out to the local government officials in Estill County and voice your support for the project. Here are the links you can use to contact these representatives:
The board had a special meeting on Wednesday, September 6th. Special meetings are held to discuss specific topics and not typically open to general discussion. This special meeting was held to go over the lease payment for the park and to review sub-committee work on operational equipment related to a POS system and online storefront for purchasing tickets and other items at the park.
Three of the four counties have paid their portion of the lease payment. The board is still waiting to receive the payment from Estill County. The invoice was sent to Estill County in July, but after two fiscal court meetings, the Estill County Fiscal Court has yet to approve their contractually obligated portion of the lease payment. The board was presented with the meeting minutes from October 2014 when the Estill County Fiscal Court approved the lease payment, which has a term of 6 years. The board will continue to ensure the lease payment is paid and that Estill County contributes their portion.
Storefront & POS System
Board members Dedra Brandenburg and Chad Birch presented research done by them, along with board member Joe Crawford, regarding waiver systems, point of sale systems, online storefronts, and permit design, rules, and costs. More research and work is needed in some of these areas, but the board is on track to have their day-to-day sales needs met.
We encourage everyone who is interested in this project to come out to the next meeting on Wednesday, September 20th.
The attendance at today's meeting was low due to many people involved are representing their respective counties in Louisville at the State Fair. Both members and attendees of our board are very involved in their communities, so we hope they all have safe travels to and from home this week.
Trail Cleanup Day
Jeff Dozier and James Neukam headed up our trail day on August 12th. The group worked closely with the Forrestry Service this time to get quite a bit done. We also had a chance to have an on-site discussion with the Forrestry Service about disputed features and land borders. We made a lot of progress with the trails and with the property lines today. We call this a success.
Fixing the Swamp
All four counties have been working hard to fix the issues at the swamp. Each county has contributed their road crew and materials to work on this issue. We estimate that we're 90% complete with this project.
We have signs up! This has been one of the key hurdles to opening the park. These were mostly deployed at our trail day. We have signs stating when you're entering/leaving the park, as well as other informative signs to guide you through property and warn you of some of the hazardous areas.
The board meeting started out hearing questions and concerns with the park from citizens who live in the area of the park. Concerns were raised around safety, violators, property boundaries, and economic impact. Park manager Tony Tipton, Powell County Judge Executive James Anderson, business owners in attendance, and members of the community that support the project helped address each concern as they were raised. This was important for the board to help them understand the issues that may be raised once the park becomes fully operational.
Concerns About Sandlick
Jeff Dozier from The Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway addressed the board with his concerns around the trespassing in the Sandlick area. Signage was the solution that has been proposed to address this issue. He also offered his support to assist in funding for signage. John Kazmierski from the U.S. Forestry Service also weighed in on his concern around the degradation of the non-system roads that are currently in the Forestry Service area, some of which are running through creeks. While John is working with Powell County Judge Anderson on an alternate route in the area covered by the forestry service that would be designated as a system road, the signage solution is still required to ensure the riders know where to go and where not to go.
Park Manager Tony Tipton has been working hard on the park. In addition to mowing and lawn maintenance, he also worked on securing the site through improved locks, fixed the garage door, and worked on the water pump and electrical systems. He's also been working with the currently land owners to identify good spots to install camping sites. Their historical knowledge of the utilities infrastructure is extremely helpful in this effort. New trespassing signs and security devices have also been installed on-site.
We'll be hosting another trail day on August 12th. Here is a description of the event:
Activities we plan on accomplishing are:
Updates to the event will be handled on the Facebook event. If you plan on attending, please respond that you will be 'Going' on the event.
Working towards opening
We're still working diligently on opening the park. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The big items left to knock out are:
If you have any questions or concerns, come out to our next meeting.
All Squared Up
We are all caught up with our lease payments. Estill County finally came through with their portion of the lease payment ($18,500). We will be issuing our check to the lease holder as soon as possible.
'X' Marks The Spot
Park Manager Tony Tipton produced a new map that lists all trails and routes that leave the park. Points are reflected on the map at the exact point where the trail leaves Hollerwood. The map also highlights other properties by adjoining land-owners and shows the challenges that are still in place. This is the map that the local governments and the board will be working from in order to resolve trail issues. This is a key item to have for our trail planning and rescue planning.
Up on Cripple Creek
Much discussion took place regarding the creek on the main entrance trail. The board discussed the issues with severe mud and swamp-like conditions after rainstorms and the difficulty we might have in rescuing stranded vehicles if they were to get stuck. Possible resolutions ranged from simple rocks to help shore up the bottom to the construction of a bridge to bypass the creek entirely. Judge Anderson (Powell County) agreed to have someone from the road crew go out and assess the situation in order to see if they can remedy the issue.
Signs, signs, and more signs
We still have rules, liability forms, and signs to acquire and deploy before we open. The board heard from James Neukam (board member) about the research he has done in to signs. The board agreed that James should head up this effort. Discussion also took place about road crossing signs, ATV traffic alert signs, etc.
Money, Money, Money, Money
Park Manager Tony Tipton sent out a letter to the Estill County Judge Executive and Fiscal Court regarding their late payment regarding the lease we have on the park. We hope this will be resolved upon the next meeting of the Estill County Fiscal Court, which will be on Monday, February 20th at 6:00.
Run, Forester, Run
Mr. Tipton is also working on getting Mitch Frisbee to the park to aid on property boundaries. Mr. Frisbee is a professional forester who has previously worked on boundary issues on this land in years past. His knowledge and experience will help expedite the process of defining this key piece in getting the park open in the Spring.
Trying to make it ours
We are still pursuing opportunities with the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) to try and acquire the funds to purchase the land out-right. This has been an issue with trying to secure grants for this project. Once we own the property, we should be able to accelerate our development plan... So let's hope this works out.
volunteers needed - trail day!
We are looking to hold a Hollerwood Park trail day. We plan on meeting on Saturday, March 4th, at the Sun Oil building (on KY Highway 1036) at 10 a.m. Activities we plan on accomplishing are:
Piece of the pie
Board member David Terrill brought up an idea of working something out with the property owners in order to get a deed to the building and some small piece of property to use as a foot-hold in our next round of grant applications. The idea is still in its early phases, so hopefully we'll have more information on it at our next meeting.
I want to ride my bicycle...
Joe Bowen asked to use the Sun Oil parking lot for his off-road bicycle ride, tentatively called the "Rugged Red: Gravel Grinder". The event could bring hundreds of visitors to the area, exposing them to some of the scenery that helps make this park so special. The board had a lot of discussion regarding date of the event as well as insurance liability. The board will decide on this at the next meeting once Mr. Bowen provides a date for his event.
Fiscal house of cards
The board reviewed matters involving lease payments from the counties. A letter was drafted to send to the fiscal agencies that were causing delays in payments. The boards hopes to have this matter addressed in the next 30 days.
... At the end of the rainbow
Our project manager has been invited to the Red River Gorge Conference in March that covers federal and state grants and loan submissions. The hope is that some money can be secured to help ease our expected startup costs. We'll report more once we know.
Lines in the sand
We're trying to resolve some final key property issues that involve some trails. These are some of the hardest properties to ascertain ownership, which makes this a very exciting prospect.
Save the date
After a lot of work, a prospective opening date of Spring 2017 has been targeted. While this date is not set in stone, we are hoping to have everything in place to get the park up and running then. We're looking forward to the spring and letting everyone enjoy this gem in the mountains.
Paying the man
We made out lease payment. There was some initial confusion involving addresses and locations, but all that was resolved and we did pay our lease; so we are good until next fall.
We've been working on resolving the issues on our western border. We reached out with our adjoining land-owners and were able to come to an agreement on the boundary lines. This is a big deal because land border disputes can be complicated and expensive. We're just gad we have good neighbors who are willing to work with us and are as excited as we are to see this park open.
Divide and conquer
We still have a few outstanding border issues. Our park manager, Tony Tipton, plans on addressing these one at a time in order to get them resolved in a timely manner. With the help of some outside groups, we think our research has given us all the information we need in order to approach the right people for each dispute. As you can imagine, property that has been bought, sold, traded, and acquired so many times leaves a myriad of land deeds in its trail. Tracking these down has been one tedious task, but that's what it takes to get these issues resolved so we can meet the rest of our target dates.
Stop, drop, and roll(cage)
Since we've resolved some of out border issues, the board discussed putting up boundary signs along the trails to indicate when riders are leaving the property and which property they're going to be on (private property, public road, forestry service, etc.). All riders must follow the signs in order for us to maintain a good relationship with our neighbors. Penalties for violating these signs will likely be severe as it would adversely affect the entire community.
We've posted the next meeting on Facebook. We encourage everyone to attend, particularly if you have questions or concerns you'd like to voice to the board.