Warren Fiscal Court approves grant request for trolley project
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - In a 5-1 vote, the Warren County Fiscal Court approved an American Rescue Plan Act funds grant to the Friends of L&N Depot for $487,736 to purchase a trolley and first-year operations for educational and tourism enhancement in the county.
This additional allocation will be added under the amended agreement to a prior grant for $100,000 for rail car restoration.
District Six Magistrate Ron Cummings voted against the grant request.
“I personally have a hard time spending half a million dollars of county money, although it is ARPA, for this ... I’m personally not convinced,” Cummings said. “Concerns I have is this can go two ways.”
Cummings said the trolley could either not do well or be a success.
“How do you plan on getting a second or third trolley?” Cummings asked, adding that he hopes this project is successful.
Bobby Rabold, a board member of L&N Depot said that the budget for the trolley is “conservative.”
“It is beyond conservative,” Rabold said. “We haven’t even really factored in the rental aspects of the property ... which are going to be huge.”
Rabold gave examples including weddings, birthdays, corporate events and conventions and individual tours.
“We are not even factoring that into our income,” he said. “We have been working with our consultant closely and he assures us that we are going to be very successful.”
Rabold also described the first initial route plan, and added that more routes will be added as the project continues.
The first route begins at the National Corvette Museum, travels to the Historic RailPark and Train Museum, through downtown Bowling Green, up the Hill through Western Kentucky University, down College Street, down State Street and back to downtown for drop-off and pick-ups and finally back to the Corvette Museum.
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said he supports the project.
“This particular trolley is equipped with a GPS system,” he said. “As you approach areas, it is a pre-recorded message that will talk about what is going on. I’m really excited about the potential of this trolley.”
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