City to invest $100K to improve Ben Hawes Park trails

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The city Parks and Recreation Department is preparing to invest $100,000 in rehabilitating walking and mountain biking trails at Ben Hawes Park, with the hope of attracting more foot and bicycle racing to the park.

City Parks Director Amanda Rogers said the goal is to have the work done this year. The department has the money for trail work in its general fund.

“We will bring in a certified trailer builder, who can go through out (trail) system and resolve minor issues and reroute 2 miles of trail,” Rogers said.

The trail builder will also create 2 miles of new dirt trails, to replace trails that are “not sustainable,” Rogers said.

There are about 15 miles of trails at the Rudy Mine site. The work will focus on the focus doing repairs to the dirt trails used for mountain biking and running. There are 8.5 miles of “single track” dirt trails at the site, and the trail builder will focus on fixes in order of priority, as well as creating the 2 miles of new trails, Rogers said.

“It has gotten so much use in 10 years,” Rogers said of the trails.

The issues include erosion on the trails.

People walking the trails “are not going to see the things we are seeing, but there are issues that are going to be corrected, so we can get another 10 solid years” of regular use on the trails, Rogers said.

“I’m hoping we can get it done before fall,” Rogers said. The project has not yet been bid.

A goal of the trail improvements is to increase the use of the trails for mountain bike racing and trail running racing, Rogers said.

“It’s exciting, because we are seeing much more use, and we are looking at getting into more races,” Rogers said. Races have been staged there by Legends and by the Kentucky Mountain Biking Association, Rogers said.

“We are looking at growing that (activity) for sports tourism in the community,” Rogers said.

The department also has plans to expand the current parking lot, and to make a secondary lot.

“(For) races to have 190 to 300 riders, we need a larger parking area,” Rogers said.