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Byway commands second glance

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Enjoy the highway with new eyes

By Ben Sheroan

Sincerity and enthusiasm are an irresistible combination.

Standing in the entry lobby at the Lincoln Museum on Friday, a series of speakers celebrated the selection one week earlier of U.S. 31E and U.S. 150 from Hodgenville to Danville as a National Scenic Byway.

The designation reaffirms our local heritage, including the connection to Abraham Lincoln. In fact, the selected section of roadway will be known as the Lincoln Heritage Highway.

The designation also will have tourism benefits. The Federal Highway Administration will mark the road with special signs and promotional information will be part of national maps, brochures, booklets and Web sites.

It all sounded compelling as Judge-Executive Tommy Turner and Mayor Terry Cruse shared their remarks with the small assembly last week. Representatives from the state tourism and commerce cabinets added their appropriate congratulations and praise for Hodgenville’s devotion to beautification and tourism.

Then it was Amy Potts’ turn to speak. She is a field representative with the Rural Heritage Development Initiative and Preservation Kentucky.

Her words were not unlike the officials who previously had spoken. But there was something about her enthusiasm that shared her deep commitment and sense of satisfaction over this achievement.

Working with consultants from TranSystems of Maitland, Fla., and coordinating the local and state involvement, Potts spent more than a year working on the national designation of this road and two others in Kentucky.

After describing the natural autumn beauty driving through the Knobs between New Haven and Hodgenville, she issued a challenge. She suggested that local motorists who routinely travel along that stretch of highway take a look “with new eyes.”

So I did.

And she’s right.

A quick trip to the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home National Park erased a week of work stress, budget pressures and family concerns. It brought a renewed appreciation for God’s creation as the flood of orange, red and green leaves decorated the hillsides.

It also provided a whole new appreciation for the National Scenic Byway designation. The country deserves to enjoy this beauty and its history.

Ben Sheroan is general manager of The LaRue County Herald News.