“Trail Town” opens in Livingston, Kentucky

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            A vision is a seed giving rise to hope. Good visions are contagious and draw on the hope of communities, eager to apply every resource available to further a cause. Communities with a cause give birth to a renewed sense of worth, as economic development follows hospitality extended to visitors.  A vibrant example of this phenomena is the small, rural town of Livingston, Kentucky.

As part of a growing movement across the state where rivers, trees, rocks, and trails are found, Livingston enjoyed recognition as the second in a series of proposed “Certified Trail Towns” on Tuesday, June 25th.  The outdoor ceremony drew participants from all across the state, including First Lady Jane Beshear, whose words of encouragement and presentation of a proclamation for the walls of the newly opened Visitors Center, declared the town open for the business of Adventure Tourism.  Other state officials present included Secretary Bob Stewart (KY Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet) and Elaine Wilson (KY Adventure Tourism Director). They were joined by  Rockcastle County Judge Executive, Buzz Carloftiz, Mayor Jason Medley of Livingston, and Mayor Michael Bryant from Mt. Vernon to honor those who’d contributed extensive hours of planning and hard-work culminating in this special event.

Banners hung from light posts along Main Street, and a “Welcome to Livingston” sign at an intersection between the town’s new trailhead and visitor’s center, gave the feeling of an open-arm greeting and warm embrace— a posture now at the heart of this small community’s resolve.   Among the townspeople who’d been catalysts to this ongoing project, Lynn Tatum let it be known that renovations to the old school building’s first floor, now the town’s Visitors Center, had been completed only the day before.  Proudly she pointed out numerous colored brochures on an antique desk with roll-out drawers she’d found at a yard sale, and explained that the original-logos on the open room’s back wall, produced by a local business, would someday be on hats for sale to cyclists, hikers, horseback riders, river-rafters and canoe-enthusiasts.  A subtle aroma of fresh cut cedar emanated from door frames and wood-trim about the room with its whirring ceiling fans above tables laden with catered finger-foods and iced beverages.  Towns-folk, young and old, proud of their new status, mingled as they talked about ongoing plans for development, anticipating the arrival of guests in the days to follow.

Before leaving town, a stop at the local eatery seemed a fitting conclusion to a hot day. The Maine Street Café, a family owned and operated business, whose menu and atmosphere were consistent with the “at home” billing of this newly certified Trail Town, served up a corn- dog with cole-slaw, a freshly grilled burger, and more than a few refills of what Steve Barbour, STA director, dubbed “Momma’s Sweet Tea”.  The town of Livingston is ready for visitors. Be sure to stop in and see for yourself how the seed of a vision can uncover hidden treasures and breathe new life into a community that’s taken hold of a dream and run with it.

Karen Weber   6/26/13

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