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Trail Towns: Ellen Zornes, Holly Grimsley

2014-04-08 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener. Ellen Zornes left and Holly Grimsley of the Trail Towns Core Group organizers, received an enthusiastic reception at City Hall last night. Zornes has asked for, and received, official City of Columbia backing for the Trail Towns Initiative. Above she was pointing to other members of her core group who were in the audience: Jelaine Phillips and Brenda Mann, who along with Lee Ann Jessee and Councillor Linda Waggener, are key organizers of Trail Town. Both presenters emphasized the health benefits, and also emphasized how tourist dollars are add to revenue, shore up small businesses, and help reduce the tax burden on local citizens. Zornes said that, surprisingly, most of the infrastructure for meeting Trail Towns requirements are in place in Columbia, and that community investment would be minimal. Grimsley, who has been involved in similar programs in North Carolina, told the council that signage will be one of the big responsibilities, and that Trail Towns, USA organizers are working with the Kentucky Highway Department to develop signs which meet state standards. She said that Trail Towns is about preservation, that experience has shown that Trail Town tourists are drawn to towns like they remember or like they imagine as ideal. Zornes told the Council that Columbia may be a "Certified" Trail Town in as little as 6 months, probably no more than 12. At present, only two towns, Livingston in Rockcastle County, and Dawson Springs, Governor Beshear's hometown in Hopkins County, are "Certified." She noted that Columbia is not alone in the effort, that Campbellsville and Greensburg are helping to complete the "Triangle around Green River Lake" with their own Trail Town programs, and that the groups are hoping Russell County will begin a Trail Town program soon.
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