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Highway designation could drive tourism

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Federal delegation celebrated by gathering at Lincoln Museum

By Brent Schanding

The Lincoln Heritage Highway was elevated as a National Scenic Byway designation by the Federal Highway Administration in a Hodgenville ceremony Friday.

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The Lincoln Heritage Highway follows a 71-mile stretch of U.S. 31E and U.S. 150, from Hodgenville to Danville. The corridor passes through New Haven, Bardstown, Springfield and Perryville.

The Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home National Historic Park at Knob Creek is one of the historic attractions along the route.

The designation could impact the area by opening the door to grant opportunities, increasing tourism revenue and enhancing the communities along the corridor, as All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways are promoted heavily nationwide, Amy Potts with Rural Heritage Development Initiative/Preservation Kentucky said. At the Friday designation ceremony in Hodgenville, Potts described the breath-taking views of the Knobs from along the highway as you enter the town as a “quality experience.”

“It’s made me homesick” for Hodgenville, Potts said. “And I don’t even live here.”

With the help of consulting firm TranSystems of Maitland, Fla., Potts applied for the designation in December 2008. Potts said she thinks the route from Hodgenville to Danville is a natural fit for an All-American Road. President Abraham Lincoln’s association is the pull, but the roads also encompass bourbon and religious heritage, early settlement and the Civil War, Potts said.

‘When Amy Potts first talked with me about the National Scenic Byway designation, which was well over a year ago, I could see by the excitement and enthusiasm she exhibited that the program was truly something special,” LaRue County Judge-executive Tommy Turner said. “And after a bit of research, I found out just how important it would be to garner this designation for our region.

“As we begin to see the door close on the Lincoln Bicentennial, that does not mean it should close on our efforts to enhance the Lincoln heritage or our communities,” he said.

More information about the National Scenic Byways program is available at www.byways.org. More information about Kentucky’s scenic byways is available at www.tea21.ky.gov.