The first reading of an ordinance to annex a section of state highway was approved during a meeting of the Evarts City Council on Tuesday. This section of road has been the only snag in a plan to procure a trail town designation for the city from the state.
City attorney Otis Doan read the ordinance for council.
The ordinance states the city’s intent to annex nine-tenths of a mile of KY 2430, which connects the city to the Black Mountain Thunder Off-Road Adventure Area.
The city has been working toward a Trail Town designation for some time. Such a designation would provide the city with several benefits, including free promotion from the state as a Trail Town destination.
Evarts Mayor Eddie Manning pointed out in a previous report that annexing the road would allow off-road vehicles to be covered under the city’s ordinance, enabling them to legally ride between the park and town.
There has been some concern among residents that the annexing of the road would also include other property, but this is not the case. Specific language has been included in the ordinance to insure the road itself is all that is annexed.
“This annexation does not involve any residences or private property,” said Doan during the first reading. “I added that in there myself because I wanted everybody that lives along that road to know we’re not taking their property.”
According to Doan, the next step is to give the highway department 10 days notice via registered mail. A special called meeting will then be held to perform the second reading of the ordinance.
Manning advised that once Evarts becomes a trail town, there are plans to put a sign at Exit 29 on I-75 southbound directing tourists toward Evarts. The sign will be provided at no cost to the city.
Manning advised the council that the Harlan County Rescue Squad would soon be maintaining a larger presence in the Evarts area.
“The lease that we’d been working on for the last year and a half with the fiscal court — to allow them to take our safety building and turn it into the rescue squad — has now been approved by the fiscal court,” said Manning. “So, that’s another stepping stone for us.”
Manning said this move would enable the Rescue Squad to respond to emergencies at the park and surrounding area with greater speed.
“That should benefit everybody on Clover Fork,” said Manning.
Harlan County Rescue Squad Capt. Chris Allen confirmed a plan to have equipment moved into the building within two weeks.
Allen said that by having mountain rescue equipment readily available, it will improve response time significantly.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, email@example.com