Free shuttle buses will be provided for attendees of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games who don't want to walk from the parking lot next to the Kentucky Horse Park, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Thursday.
At least eight buses a day will be provided by Kentucky churches, which are volunteering their vehicles and drivers through Affiliated International Ministries, religious groups and churches that have come together for the Games.
The buses will start at 7 a.m. each day and run continuously.
They will join the golf cart shuttles provided by Games organizers to transport disabled spectators from the parking lot to the park and between venues within the park. The service will be free.
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The buses will answer concerns from people worried about walking from Spy Coast Farm, which is next to the Kentucky Horse Park campground, Beshear said.
"Once inside the gate, spectators will have many opportunities to walk from one event or attraction to the next," he said in a statement. "By providing to-the-door service from the paid parking, visitors will arrive at the gate in comfort."
Earlier this summer, Games organizers changed their plan of a free park-and-shuttle system based at Coldstream Research Park, which would have dropped people directly at the gates of the park. Now, people will park at Spy Coast for $20 (cash only), then walk or take a shuttle to the park.
Once visitors are inside the park, shuttles will be provided only for disabled spectators.
Jamie Link, the CEO of the World Games Foundation, said at a recent news conference that the distance had been exaggerated and was only 0.8 mile from the parking lot to the venues inside. But, at the same event, first lady Jane Beshear said that people's concerns had been heard and would be addressed.
AIM was formed out of the Equestrian Ministries International, a group of religiously active people in the horse industry.
Larry Martin, its director, said the Games are a great way for the ministries to form new relationships that will help some of the programs with which they work, such as therapeutic riding programs for the disabled.
"We want to provide services in as many different ways as we can at the World Games," Martin said. That includes the shuttle buses, which have as many as 50 volunteer drivers from area churches.
AIM also is coordinating two church services every Sunday of the Games. There will be one at 8 a.m. at Cane Run Baptist Church, 4326 Iron Works Pike, near the Horse Park. Another will be at the Georgetown Equine Expo at 10:30 a.m.
AIM will sponsor several other events at the Georgetown expo and the International Equestrian Festival at the Lexington Convention Center. Both events will be held during the Games, which are Sept. 25 to Oct. 10.