Sunday, July 22, 2001

Golf course plan hits rough

Proposal moving it to power-plant site has county balking

The Associated Press

        WHITESBURG, Ky. — A proposed 18-hole golf course that was part of the planned Red Fox resort project near Carr Creek Lake may instead be built on an industrial site where the Kentucky Mountain Power Plant is being built.

        Officials in Letcher County, who have invested $950,000 in coal severance tax revenues in the Red Fox project, said they will ask for their money back if the golf course is derailed.

        The Red Fox development, a joint project among Letcher, Knott and Perry counties, is expected to have a hotel, housing, industrial companies and stores, in addition to a golf course.

        Members of the Red Fox Tri-County Authority, which is in charge of developing the Red Fox site, said they haven't been consulted about any proposed move of the golf course.

        Ewell Balltrip, executive director of the Kentucky Appalachian Commission, told the Mountain Eagle of Whitesburg that Gov. Paul Patton is exploring the possibility of having the golf course built on the 1,000-acre industrial site where the power plant is being built.

        The Red Fox project was first proposed in 1989, but Mr. Patton visited the site in 1997 and said the proposed access road from Ky. 15 was unacceptable. That sent planners back to the drawing board to design a 32-foot wide industrial road.

        Mr. Balltrip said the state had about $4 million to build the road, but the low bid came in at $8 million.

        “He just simply made the decision that it would not be appropriate to seek any additional money for that access road,” Mr. Balltrip said.

        Debbie Goodson, chairwoman of the Red Fox Tri-County Authority, said the road originally planned for the development would have been adequate.

        Letcher County Judge-executive Carroll Smith said the original intent was to build a development close enough to have an economic impact on Letcher County. The original location was about 8 miles from the Letcher County border.

        “If you move it 30 miles down the road, all of a sudden it becomes marginal at best,” Mr. Smith said.

        Mr. Patton intends to return Letcher County's money to its coal severance tax account if the development is moved, Mr. Balltrip said.


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- Golf course plan hits rough