Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 30, 2013

All Aboard, Russell seeking input

Public invited to make suggestions during meeting

Tim Preston
The Independent

RUSSELL — With an aim to make “all of Russell, not just downtown,” a better place to live, work and visit, members of the nonprofit group All Aboard, Russell will conduct an informational meeting Monday to collect ideas and suggestions.

“This all started from the bridge closing,” said board member Cheryl Jones, explaining a grant has already been obtained for renovations at the city’s old railroad depot after the city’s senior citizens vacated the property and moved into a new center at the former Rail City Hardware building downtown.

The depot will be renovated to serve as a railroad museum, as well as a place to document the city’s history, Jones said, in addition to providing a center for activities aimed at improving the city’s appeal.

“Our mission is to build up all of Russell and not just downtown,” Jones said. “We’re talking about things like a bike trail, a walking trail, building up the little park and having flowers like you see in Ironton and Ashland.”

Jones said the group’s goals do not include private-property concerns, such as telling people to clean up properties, although the organization does hope to work on the city’s image.

 “Revitalize community properties for us means adding to current park(s) such as maybe swing set, walking trails, etc., possibly adding a farmers market, bike trail, encompassing all of Russell, not just ‘downtown,’ helping with riverfront development, things of this nature,” she said.

“We’ve discussed many possibilities in the whole city of Russell ... long-term as well as quicker turn-around projects. We’re new and in the planning/research/development stage. It does not mean going to private properties and telling people to clean up their act. That’s the city’s job.”

Participants at Monday’s meeting do not have to be Russell residents to add their ideas to the mix.

“You do not have to be a resident of Russell to be a member. We support anyone interested in joining the voyage to help make Russell a destination in which to visit and live. We can use your ideas, time, connections, expertise, anything that you believe will help keep, and build on, Russell’s image as a pleasant, fun and family city,” Jones said.

She said the overall plan includes “making it inviting for new businesses to want to come to Russell, something like adding a dinner theater along the river or elsewhere in Russell, expanding the park to include more family activities — these types of things.”

For more information, call (502) 314-4662.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.