Recently, Prestonsburg officials received an update on a project that the city hopes will give individuals a much needed attraction to visit in the community.
On July 14, Prestonsburg Tourism held its first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began and during which officials received an update regarding the ongoing Rails to Trails project that officials said is nearing completion.
According to Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton, the project has three bridges completed, with work being done by two separate crews on a fourth and fifth bridge for the trail.
Later this week, Stapleton said, gates would begin being put up around the trail, which should help restrict ATV traffic. Also beginning this week, according to Stapleton, is the construction of a “school bus bridge” which, when completed will allow individuals to cross through a former Floyd County school bus.
“And what I call a school bus bridge,” Stapleton said. “They’re going to cut the back and the front out of the school bus and place it on top, so it’s going to to be like a school bus covered bridge.
“The Floyd County Schools system has volunteered the bus up as they have no use for it…this is some pretty exciting stuff,” he added.
Stapleton said the Rails to Trails project was first started in 2015, six weeks into his first term. However, the city didn’t acquire the funds needed until around the middle of 2016 and according to him, work on the project is just now coming to fruition.
During the Prestonsburg City Commission meeting on July 20, Stapleton gave an update to the commission regarding the project.
“The Rails to Trails project is going great,” Stapleton said.
According to Stapleton, a little more than half the trail needs to be aggregated down and that there was a little over a mile of asphalt completed, which he said was a “back-and-forth process.”
“We have a little more fencing that needs to be done and some signage, then we’re pretty much completed,” Stapleton said.
According to Stapleton, the trail has been made possible due to a approximately $1.95 million grant, which he said was specifically for this trail project. He added that those funds have stayed in Eastern Kentucky, as the city has elected to use local contractors and construction work.
The hope is that the Rails to Trails project will completed and open to the public around the fall.