Banners, benches, bike racks, and solar light posts will soon welcome tourists to McCreary County
With the official designation of Stearns as a Kentucky trail town inching closer to reality, residents and visitors alike will soon see visible signs of McCreary County’s status as an up and coming tourism designation for hikers, bikers, and river paddlers. Speaking to the McCreary County Tourism Commission, McCreary County Tourism Director Tara Chaney announced the arrival of utility pole banners, benches, trash receptacles, solar light posts, and bicycle racks to be placed in Stearns and Whitley City. The purchases were made with funds from an almost $25,000 grant received by Director Chaney from TOUR SEKY. Fifty banners, measuring five feet long, will be placed on utility poles along Main Street in Whitley City, along the Wilburn K. Ross Highway, and in downtown Stearns. The banners promote hiking, biking, and paddling. Chaney expressed her excitement at “finally having some physical representation of all the hard work that has gone into getting a trail town designation.”
In addition, approximately two thousand dollars raised at the recent Flag Day 5K event in Stearns will be spent on trailhead signage at the trail town gazebo currently under construction in Stearns. Title 2 funds from the Forest Service will be used for the development of informational kiosks at Stearns and the Lick Creek Falls Trailhead parking area.
These most recent “visible” signs of tourism promotion in McCreary County are coming at an opportune time as interstate signs directing travelers to the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail and the Stearns Kentucky Trail Town have just recently been placed at Exits 25 and 11 on Interstate 75. The Rock Creek Bike Trail Grand Opening is also expected in September and will provide an easily accessible bike route for all levels of bicyclists who come to explore McCreary County.
Chaney also expressed optimism about the expansion of sidewalks and the implementation of more beautification projects in Stearns, Whitley City, and Pine Knot.
One project being considered involves the painting of murals and the use of artwork on empty storefronts throughout the County. Chaney has already approached one local building owner who has responded favorably to the idea of voluntarily adding mural-type paintings to his storefronts. Business owners who are interested in more information about the project can contact Chaney at the tourism office.
In a separate initiative, Director Chaney distributed hospitality recognition cards to the board members, who, along with volunteers, will distribute the cards to frontline employees in local businesses in honor of their outstanding customer service. Once a frontline employee receives the recognition card, they can enter a monthly hospitality drawing on the McCreary County Tourism Facebook page.
In other business, the Commission accepted the resignation of board member Michelle King who resigned due to personal reasons. The Commission postponed making a recommendation on a person to fill the vacancy to Judge Stephens until all members can be present at a meeting to provide input. The Commission must be composed of three members representing the lodging industry, one representing the Chamber of Commerce, one representing the restaurant industry, and two individuals designated as being the choices of the McCreary County Judge Executive. King’s resignation leaves an opening in the Judge Executive’s representation. The Commission traditionally makes a recommendation to the Judge Executive for his consideration.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the McCreary County Tourism Commission will be August 25 at 5:00 p.m. at the McCreary County Tourism Office in Whitley City.