The Louisa Rotary Club held their weekly meeting on Thursday, August 20 via Zoom. Dan Smith started the meeting off with prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance was then said and Chris Job led the reciting of the four-way test.
Guest speaker for this meeting was Wes Kingsmore. A little bio for Wes is he was born and raised here in Lawrence County. He has been married to his wife Audra Ward Kingsmore for 33 years and has two sons Dustin and Ryan. He and his family attend the First Baptist Church of Louisa.
Wes is currently employed by Lawrence County Gas as a pipeline compression supervisor and has been in the oil and gas business for 35 years.
Wes is an avid cyclist and is well known throughout Eastern Ky with other cyclist organizations and enthusiasts. He is involved with the one hundred-mile Annual Appalachian Bike Tour Ride, which is a 26-year tradition so far.
He also enjoys kayaking and hiking. He is currently the president of Lawrence County Baseball Boosters Diamond Club and is the Chairman of the Tourism Commission of Lawrence County Ky. He is also the Co-Director of the Trail Town Committee.
Wes spoke primarily on the topic of tourism in Louisa and how we want to draw people in who don’t live here but we need to work on keeping people here as well. He said biking, hiking and kayaking are big things right now and we can highlight on that right now. He said we have trails and places for kayaking but the biggest downfall is promoting them.
He gave a little fun fact on kayak sales from the Ky Fish and Wildlife sold more kayaks to women in Ky than any other state. We have two outfitters in Louisa that sell kayaks and Wes stated that was an asset for us.
Lawrence County Deputy Judge/Exec. Vince Doty spoke a bit about Chapman Park and some things in the works to develop that area more.
Some ideas were turning it into a RV Camp Park, making an access way to the river for kayaks.
Right now, it has a shelter, playground, picnic tables and basketball courts. The area needs some work but already has electric and water hookups.
Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director Debbie Miller spoke on the numbers for Lawrence County with Covid-19 cases. She said we are at 2 active cases with 40 total cases.
Louisa Mayor Harold Slone gave an update on the River Walk proposal and the next steps with that project. Here is what one local TV station had on the subject this morning;
Louisa planning to build a riverwalk trail along Big Sandy River
LOUISA, Ky. (WCHS/WVAH) — The City of Louisa, Kentucky, is moving forward with plans to build a riverwalk along the Big Sandy River.
In addition to the walking trail, plans also include an amphitheater and zip lines where you can literally zip line from one state to another. The city has a $380,000 federal grant to construct the trail that has already attracted new business.
Ken Akers opened Rebel River Outfitters three months ago in Louisa. The reason he said was the city’s riverwalk project.
“We’d better try and market it while it was here and try to beat someone else to it before they took advantage of it,” Akers said.
Even though trail construction hasn’t started, Akers has been busy selling fishing supplies and renting kayaks.
“Hopefully it will get busier. We’re going to try and stock up another 30-35 kayaks for the winter and have a fleet of 100 ready to go by spring of next year,” Akers said.
“It’s very close. There’s a natural bank down the river. There will be very little excavation work,” Louisa Mayor Harold Slone said.
The trail will stretch from the Locks and Dam at Lockview Park to the boat ramp behind the Lawrence County Courthouse, and will give those on the trail some history about the area.
“We’re going to have kiosks that will explain that and also some history about the riverboat traffic on the Big Sandy River, and how Louisa and people in Louisa played such a part in actually building riverboats,” Slone said.
He said the trail will be paved so it will last — and be a little more than a half mile long.
“We want to get out of the house. We want to kayak and bike and walk,” Slone said. “We want something to do. I think it will be very handy for people and it will only spur more small businesses in the future.”
Next month, the city will begin trying to acquire land for the project and hopefully have it finished in a year.