With adventure tourism gaining popularity, and the vast natural resources of Powell County using the latter to build the former seems only natural. With that in mind, the City of Clay City has partnered with the Bluegrass Area Development District and Department of Fish and Wildlife to bring an exciting new attraction to downtown Clay City. With a projected opening date of summer 2017, Clay City will become home to two new river docks designed to cater to those paddling enthusiasts who wish to see the city from a unique perspective: from the river itself.
This project, funded to the tune of nearly 30,000 by grants, will enable both local residents and visitors to experience the excitement of the Red River in a convenient and easy-access manner. By utilizing existing property, an entrance point will be established at the Clay City Park, with an exit point near the former sewer plant directly across Main Street from the park itself. “You’ll be able to put in a small boat, there, and go wit the current around the city,” said Clay City Mayor Jimmie Caudill. Caudill also remarked that the city is currently working to upgrade the former sewer plant, creating a welcoming environment for those who wish to test the waters.
Fortunately for those who may not be thrill seekers, the attraction offers excitement for all skill levels. “It’s good for families and beginners,” said Chris Chaney of the Bluegrass Area Development District, “or padding enthusiasts, all.” While the current of the river is based on mother nature herself, different times will offer experiences unique to the season, and the paddler.
Like any successful project, collaboration was the key to making this attraction a reality. By partnering with the Bluegrass ADD, the City of Clay City enabled the project to move forward quickly and with minimal expense to the taxpayers. Additionally, Clay City reached out to Powell County Judge-Executive James Anderson to assist in making this goal become a reality. “Any benefit to Clay City is a benefit to the county as a whole, and is a great step in the right direction toward expanding tourism from the eastern end of Powell County to areas with unique attractions all their own” said Anderson. “The Powell County Fiscal Court is happy to provide equipment, labor and any other resources at our disposal to make this project a reality for our community.”
But beyond the scope of local governments working together, private-public partnerships have also played a role. Local business, Hinkle Contracting, offered assistance in providing materials to construct the docks and has shown a commitment to seeing the project come to fruition. “Having good corporate citizens makes all the difference in these things,” Anderson said, “and much of the credit should deservedly be given to Chris Chaney and Cody Meadows, whose vision of this project and dedication to seeing it through has spanned several months. It’s wonderful to see it come together for all of Powell County.”