Whitley Judge-Executive talks to chamber about county’s bicentennial celebration; excited for the future
Whitley County has a rich, storied history, and the future doesn’t look so bad either. That was the message Tuesday from Pat White Jr., the county’s Judge-Executive, who was the featured speaker at the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce monthly membership luncheon.
It was a standing room only crowed at The Corbin Center for the event, which was sponsored by First State Bank.
White spoke, in some detail, about the 200th anniversary of the founding of Whitley County, and plans to celebrate the historic event all year long.
He mentioned a coloring contest, for which winners will be picked in February, and plans to infuse local festivals and other traditional events with bicentennial themes.
“We hope everyone will participate and will enjoy this chance to look back at our history as we try to march into our future,” White said.
The county officially celebrated its bicentennial on Jan. 17. The state legislature created Whitley County, in 1818, by carving out a portion of what was then Knox County.
White also discussed a number of county projects, including an effort to increase boating access to the Cumberland River by building a series of access points with three to five miles between each one.
“We think we have a large and underutilized tourism asset in our river,” White said. “Our river is not like it was four years ago where it was full of milk jugs and pop bottles. It’s clean, it’s nice and it’s beautiful scenery. Kayaking and canoeing and fishing is wonderful on our river.”
White said a boat ramp has been installed at Croley Bend — a project that required two and a half years to obtain permitting. Access points for smaller watercraft are available near the intersection of Hwy. 92E and KY 904, and at Ballard Ford near I-75 Exit 15.
He discussed the first annual Kayak for Kids race, held last August. The event raised $3,500 that was given to local Upward Basketball leagues and to area school resource centers.
He also talked about the Copperhead Trail motorcycle ride — a 60-mile long trek that winds through Whitley and McCreary Counties.
White touched on other issues too, such as the impending completion of several AT&T cellular towers in Whitley County that should provide better coverage for mobile users by 2019, and the recent dispensation of coal severance tax funds. Each of the county’s three school districts received $10,000. The county also plans to help pay for a new ambulance with the remainder of the funds.
In closing, White said he’s been pleased with local cooperation on area economic development efforts, and named several companies that are new to the area and are now providing good-paying jobs, including Senture, Sims Bark, Smart Wood and others.
“These are great companies investing millions of dollars in our community and it is already making a difference.”
White has served as Whitley County Judge-Executive for 12 years. He is seeking reelection to a fourth consecutive term. He currently has no opposition.
In other business, the chamber:
• Recognized new board members recently elected to the organization’s Board of Directors. Those elected were: Sherry Logan (second term), Sandy Moore, Anthony Powers, Jackie Willis and Heather Barrineau.
The election of new officers was also announced. Lisa Harrison will remain as Secretary-Treasurer. Randy Bargo was elected as Vice President, and Mike Sharpe was named the new President of the chamber.
• Recognized outgoing board members: Trent Knuckles, Larry Gray and Suzie Razmus.