Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: Jan. 27

Boone Creek eco-tourism beats a golf course

Your editorial failed to mention that Boone Creek Outdoors is on Exit 99 of Interstate 75, with lights and noise from 51,500 cars and semi trucks daily. Eminent domain and I-75 ruined 200 years of farming on this land which belongs to my family by taking our best soil, 50 acres of Maury Silt loam. My mom became a filing clerk. We couldn't make a living without some other strategy.

Unlike for Exit 104, the planning and zoning board never allowed us to do anything else. Tobacco and a few cattle paid taxes and some upkeep and killed mom with lung cancer. Today, heavily sprayed golf courses, tobacco and vineyards are considered good green land use.

The BCO plan included a farmers market, heavily opposed by the Old Richmond Road Neighborhood Association and the Fayette Alliance. As one member said in a meeting, "First you have a farmers market, then a Wal-Mart."

I am a native restorationist and landscaping/native plant growing/organic farmer who served on the governor's forestry board. I do restoration for the fish and wildlife department. My family has protected this land for 200 years and will not let bad management of a wonderful eco-tourism opportunity stop that now. BCO would bring some income so the farm can move into green agriculture: hoop houses, perennial food plants and all the infrastructure needed to grow food. As good a "use" as tobacco, wine or golf.

Yes we have a responsibility to take care of this beautiful place, but we have an equal responsibility to share it.

Jane Snyder Harrod


Open it to all

I am writing in support of the canopy tour and outdoor recreation complex planned along Boone Creek in Fayette County. Anyone dreaming of flying through the trees, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, fishing or just getting out in nature in a local, spectacularly scenic area should encourage the citizens on the Board of Adjustment to approve this innovative project.

Boone is considered a navigable stream by the state, allowing me and my fellow whitewater kayakers to join the lucky few privileged to witness it. Others should be allowed to enjoy this spectacular area, too.

Using low-impact technology devised by biologists studying eco-sensitive remote jungles of the world, the proposal calls for guided tours allowing visitors to safely fly and hike through the treetops of Boone Creek using only human power, gravity and leaving no trace of their passing. Whitewater boaters do the same thing, only on water.

I love Boone Creek and will not support activities that would harm or change its character. Conventional wisdom says the only way to protect the sensitive environment is to keep it locked away from the public and restrict use to traditional agriculture. This strategy is not working for a public seeking new opportunities for recreation nor is it adequately protecting the fragile ecosystem of the creek itself.

The proposed canopy tour is a positive for the environment, offers much-needed green jobs and encourages healthy, close-to-home outdoor activities. What's not to like?

Barry Grimes


Negative Boone impacts

There is no way approval should be given to the Boone Creek commercial recreation request as it is in conflict with policies and goals in all of the government's adopted plans for this area. I know because I helped draft several of them.

The 1992 Greenway Plan, the 1994 Greenspace Plan and the 1999 Rural Land Management Plan were extensively reviewed, passed by the council and incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan. They are all specific in directing the protection of this environmentally sensitive area, wildlife corridor, historic resource and natural rural landscape.

The Greenspace Plan lists Boone Creek as one of the focus areas with the greatest concentration of valuable resources recommended for long-term protection. The Rural Plan discourages commercial and non-agricultural development in that area. Negative impacts on existing streams and water quality were considerations.

In establishing the Rural Plan, a number of proposed uses were considered but not recommended. Commercial overnight lodging and dining were two. They were rejected based on the intensity of their impact and inability to control the total number and location of such uses. Sewage disposal in sensitive, natural areas was also an issue.

These plans were adopted by our community because they were deemed important to the long-term economic and environmental health of our region. Ignoring these plans disregards the time and effort spent by the hundreds of volunteers who participated in their development.

Betty Webb


MLK program shines

This year marked my family's 13th attending the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative program at Heritage Hall. I was initially concerned that in moving from the Philadelphia area to Lexington that I would have to travel to Cincinnati and beyond for a quality celebration of this national holiday.

Lexington has proven me wrong.

While every year's celebration has been noteworthy, this year's program truly delivered. Every element hit its mark: Charles Little lifted our spirits with his revival of the 1983 wildly successful production of Mahalia. Marc Lamont Hill, who delivered the keynote address, was absolutely timely and brilliant. His oratorical skills and superior intellect are second to none.

The selection of Saida Grundy as the mistress of ceremonies made all who remember her beam with pride. Grundy, a 30-year veteran of this program, carried out her duties with poise and professionalism. The video introductions of the speaker and other presentations were absolutely powerful.

Thanks to the Urban County Government, the University of Kentucky and the many other sponsors for such a wise use of public resources. The MLK committee works tirelessly during the holidays to bring this annual gift. And thanks to Chester and Anne Grundy who have brought their considerable skills to this program for 40 years.

I wonder if people truly appreciate the programming artists in their midst. I will continue to proudly tell newcomers and friends about this wonderful program.

Sonja D. McGuire


Beyond the celebration

Remembering and honoring the life of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with the annual unity breakfast, march and commemorative program, and a host of other celebrations throughout Lexington, we must remember why this courageous man who, at the youthful age of 39 years old, lost his life for the civil and human rights of others.

The moral fiber of the man reflected the values of a loving mother, a pastoring father, an exceptional historical black college experience, a Baptist Christian ethic with Methodist theological underpinnings and Hindu pacifist principles, and a basic love of God and humanity all grounded in a calling to love all of humanity without seeking anything in return.

We may wonder if King were alive today would he be happy to see that we have elected the first African-American president of the United States or unhappy with the school-to-prison pipeline which so many men of color fall victim.

Would he be able to survive an America that fosters an environment of poverty where mass incarceration of African-American males is the norm? Would he have protested the war in Iraq from its start?

One thing for sure, King would be on the front lines of injustice in an age of the new Jim Crow. He would not be on the sidelines.

After our celebrations, maybe we can learn from his legacy and march forward to a new day.

Anthony Everett