By Eugenia Jones
During their February meeting, the McCreary County Heritage Foundation (MCHF) passed two resolutions authorizing Chairperson Ray Moncrief and/or Vice Chair JC Egnew to sign an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Power Grant application for $1.5 million in conjunction with an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant application for $2 million to renovate the Stearns Administration Building/Museum and begin preliminary work on Stores 1 and 3. Renovation of the Administration Building/ Museum would convert the present building to a multi-use facility with space for a welcome center, museum, and office space. The Foundation also authorized an Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant application for $2 million to restore downtown Stearns, purchase additional historic property, and begin work on a campground near the millpond. If funded and completed, the projects would make Stearns a leading gateway community for the state’s Kentucky Wildlands tourism region.
In other business, MCHF Chairperson Ray Moncrief advised the board of directors that the anticipated completion date for Abandoned Mine Land (AML) slide repair on the K & T line of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) has been extended from January/February until April 1. The extension resulted from an onset of inclement weather and the need for additional work in the slide area. The repair work became necessary initially when a massive earth slide forced the closure of part of the line and prevented the Big South Fork Scenic Railway from carrying passengers to Blue Heron. With an anticipated completion date of April 1, a delay in opening the BSFSRR for the 2021 tourism season is not expected.
The museum committee reported on new exhibits they plan to open including an updated Edsel Blevins exhibit, local lumber company exhibit, OVC exhibit, etc. Outdoor exhibits (corn grinder, mower, etc.) are also planned. There are tentative plans to open a Kentucky Hills Industries type of consignment shop to assist local crafters, writers, photographers, and artists. The Heritage Classic Fishing Tournament in support of the McCreary County Museum will be held Saturday, March 20 (weather permitting) with boats launching from Conley Bottom Resort.
Additionally, the Foundation welcomed two new board members, Lauren Pennington King and Deborah Kidd-Trammell. King is a McCreary County native from Stearns who graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS and MS in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant with licenses held in Kentucky and Washington, D.C. She is currently Director of Finance for the McCreary County School District. King has served clients in various industries including, but not limited to, governments & municipalities, colleges & universities, not for profit, manufacturing, construction, and employee benefit plans.
Kidd-Trammell is a retired educator with a diverse background in the arts. She served as a music, choral, band teacher/director in McCreary, Madison, and Fayette County schools and as an elementary music methods professor at Transylvania University. Kidd-Trammell served as executive director for the Richmond (KY) Area Arts Council. She is a native of McCreary County and recently returned to reside in Stearns.
The McCreary County Heritage Foundation meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 5:30 in the OVC Conference Room.