Morgantown likely close to receiving trail town status
Morgantown is close to attaining a certification from the state that’s expected to increase local tourism.
The Morgantown Trail Town Task Force submitted an application to have Morgantown designated as a Trail Town about six months ago, after more than a year of working toward requirements set by Kentucky Adventure Tourism, according to Melanie Hunt, the task force’s chairwoman.
Hunt said recent feedback from Seth Wheat, spokesman for Kentucky Adventure Tourism, was positive overall, although Wheat noted that the task force still needs to meet with the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Agricultural Council.
“He pretty much told us that the meat of our application was excellent but we were just missing a few of the smaller things on the checklist,” she said.
The task force also needs to hold hospitality training sessions designed to instruct people whose jobs involve interacting with tourists to direct them to the tourism opportunities in the area.
“It focuses on the restaurants, the hotels, the gas stations, any business that interfaces with the public,” she said. “It teaches them the little things, not just being friendly but pointing them toward what we have.”
The task force missed these stipulations because the group submitted its application while following the directions of an outdated form.
According to Wheat, communities are required to meet with both councils, as well as the Kentucky Main Street Association, or at least have meetings with them scheduled, before they can receive Trail Town status.
The reasoning for these requirements is that the agricultural council can advise on how to market locally made food to tourists, the Kentucky Arts Council can make suggestions on how to involve local artists in the bid to make their communities more appealing to tourists, and the Main Street Association can provide input on downtown revitalization, Wheat said.
“We want our trail towns to get the best possible information from the experts,” he said.
Though the Morgantown Trail Town Task Force had not made any arrangements to meet with any state agencies when the group’s application was submitted, the application was strong, Wheat said.
“It was very good,” he said. “I was very encouraged. They’re doing a great job and I fully expect them to get certified in the next few months, easily.”
According to Wheat, Morgantown’s application uses the Green River as its main trail.
“The Green River is one of the most popular rivers for paddlers in our state,” he said, adding that the river was the “linchpin” in Munfordville’s application for Trail Town status, which was awarded in April 2017.
Communities with Trail Town status are marketed on the Kentucky Adventure Tourism website, providing them with additional marketing, Wheat said.
The Trail Town designation also lets potential tourists know that a community is dedicated to being a good place for them to visit, he said.
“It creates a better tourist destination,” he said.
– Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.