Emily C. Roush
The Ashland Beacon
The Boyd County Fiscal court announced that the installation of a mountain bike trail will be the newest addition to Armco Park. “This mountain bike trail will be great. I am excited to get started on that. It’ll just be another great addition to Armco Park,” stated Boyd County Judge Executive Eric Chaney during the December 29 Fiscal Court meeting. Justin Pruitt, Director of Boyd County Parks & Recreation, is also thrilled about the announcement. “We believe this trail will offer an entirely new experience for bike riders from all over the region to enjoy.” According to Pruitt, the construction of the trail is in the “beginning stages,” and the goal is a late spring/early summer opening.
Pruitt noted the popularity of a bike trail at Fannin Park and that a trail would be a good fit at Armco Park. “Judge Chaney and Kenny Messer had discussed the idea for the trail. We already have the Elk Mountain Bike Trail that is located in Fannin Park. Armco being a 250-acre park, we thought this would be a good addition with our popular Iron Ore Hiking Trail,” he explained. Messer is a community member who worked with FIVCO to obtain the grant that paid for the creation of the Iron Ore Hiking Trail in Armco Park.
One of the hopes of the new trail is that it will be utilized by locals as well as draw people from across the region and beyond. Courtney Gillette, Executive Director of the Boyd County Tourism & Convention Bureau, believes that the trail will contribute to an upward trend in tourism to the county. “I'm so excited this trail is being added to Armco Park,” she exclaimed. She continued, “so many great renovations have taken place under the current fiscal court administration and we've really seen a boost in tourists with each change that takes place. First with the Iron Ore Trail, then the disc golf course renovations. This is just another addition that will drive people to the area from the biking community to check out something new. I'm confident those who visit once, will be back again. Armco Park is a beautiful, hidden gem in our area that we should all be proud of.”
The installation of the bike trail in Armco Park is one component of a multi-pronged strategy for expanding how people enjoy the park that includes hiking, disc golf, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades, and public art installations. “This project is just the beginning of a number of projects for all of our parks. When the Iron Ore trail was opened in 2019, the project was funded by a grant and led by Mr. Messer [with] the full support of the Fiscal Court. It was able to bring in so much traffic to Armco,” said Pruitt.
He continued, “also, with the growing popularity of Disc Golf, Armco has two full courses that bring players from states all over the east coast. We will be upgrading the courses and installing a new pond with an ADA accessible walking trail around it. The new ‘Artco District’ which will be a section of our park that will have murals and old metal pieces from Armco that will be displayed to pay homage to our past and our area. We will be putting in a new ADA swing from a grant we received from the Foundation for the Tri-State. We will be one of the only parks in the region to have a full body ADA swing.”
Pruitt looks forward to seeing the mountain bike trail and the other projects come to fruition. We are very excited for all the new things coming to Armco Park and all our parks in Boyd County. Parks are the best way to give back to our community, and this is a part of our continued effort to have great parks in Boyd County.”