Bypass tops Perryville's priority list at forum

March 24, 2004|GARY MOYERS

PERRYVILLE - The people of Perryville want a bypass.

The bypass idea, targeted as a way to alleviate existing and potential downtown traffic problems, was No. 1 on the Perryville wish list formed at the Community Development Council's third Boyle County forum Tuesday evening, just as it was in 2003.

Perryville Fire Chief Anthony Young said a bypass, which is not in the state's six-year road plan, would benefit the town most as a safety device.

"We have problems downtown, especially at the (U.S. 150) bridge, which is a bottleneck," said Young. "Since the state completed the road repairs on both sides of the bridge, we've become a nice connector for several cities in this part of the state. We see more and more big trucks going through town every single day, and we're waiting for the big one. We're going to have a problem at the bridge one of these days, and one side of the town will be cut off from the other side."


Resident Linda Cox agreed.

"We're getting more and more traffic, and it's taking away from the image we want to present," she said. "We're getting the kind of traffic that just speeds up and goes right on through. It's not only dangerous, it doesn't help our town."

CDC held the three forums for the fifth year to gain input from residents about which problems and ideas might be priority items for each community. Attendees threw out their ideas during an open forum, moderated by CDC executive director Katie Jo Kirkpatrick, and at the end of the meeting voted to establish their top five priority items.

Renovation of the U.S. 150 bridge over the Chaplin River was the No. 2 item in Perryville, and four items tied for third: tourism development, increased paid police protection, increased commercial development and expansion of the city limits.

Several residents pointed to the renovation of the bridge, which was the No. 3 item at last year's forum, as a top priority. Young cited the safety reason, tying the bridge problem with the bypass, while David Sparrow said an increased effort should be made at the state and federal levels to secure funding for the bridge, last renovated in the 1960s.

"I would think a case could be made that it's a homeland security matter," said Sparrow. "One major accident at that bridge would cut off one side of town from the other completely."

Tourism efforts drew a number of comments. Mayor Bruce Richardson, owner of Elmwood Inn, talked about the need for ways to hold tourists in Perryville once they arrive to visit the various historic attractions, including Perryville Battlefield and Merchants Row.

"I can tell you of several instances where we've had conferences and meetings at the Inn or the Battlefield, and then the participants drive right over to Harrodsburg to stay at Beaumont Inn," he said.

"We need to develop commercially to keep those tourists here, whether it be motels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants. We keep them for a few hours, then they go somewhere else to eat and sleep. Anytime you can hold those tourists in town for a longer period of time, you get more tourism dollars."

Perryville Enhancement Project director Stuart Sanders brought up historical signage as a way to increase the tourism development.

"We need to work with the state to get some of the brown signs on Bluegrass Parkway, and on the other major arteries leading to Perryville," he said. "That's a low-cost item that could generate immediate results."

Richardson also cited the police protection problem.

"We have 40 hours of paid police protection for our city, which is not nearly enough," he said. "We don't live in Mayberry anymore where the policeman can be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

CDC will hold a discussion forum at 6:30 p.m. April 15 at Grow Hall on the Kentucky School for the Deaf campus in an effort to "bring together local leadership and citizens to discuss issues that affect the entire community," according to an agency press release.

Kirkpatrick said the forum is an opportunity to voice concerns about development issues in Boyle County. An outside moderator will be present to facilitate the discussion.

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