An update on repairs needed at Martins Fork Lake was presented to members of the Harlan Fiscal Court recently by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resource Manager David Robinson.
Robinson listed items needed at this time for the Smith Recreation Area as: replacing current county vehicle with a 4x4, 1-ton dump truck to haul garbage, gravel and items such as that; replacing playground equipment to avoid injuries due to unsafe equipment; gutting and/or replacement of the concessions stand to serve as a picnic shelter to better serve visitors; installation of a drainage tile at the beach area to avoid rutting of sand; several loads of gravel for parking lots and washed out roadways and restoration of public water fountains in the park for sanitation and safety of public.
“The current vehicle we have to haul garbage is a 1997 Ford with over 135,000 miles,” said Robinson. “A large portion of the wooden playground equipment is in bad shape and replacement is greatly needed. It’s mostly wooden and it was installed in 1994. It’s starting to show it’s age. The concession stand was constructed in the early 1990s and has not been used since the early 2000s. To serve our visitors better, we feel the building needs to be gutted and re-purpose it to a big picnic shelter. It would be a much better use of that space. We’re having drainage issues on the beach and have had these problems for several years. We get a big rain the water comes over and washes away all the sand. Our roads and parking lots are getting in pretty bad shape.”
Robinson said there are over 180,000 visitors to the lake each year, which has increased about 40,000 users since 2007. He said Martins Fork Lake was authorized in 1965 and completed in 1980. He continued saying Harlan Fiscal Court was authorized as their local partner for recreation in 1980 and the county leased Smith Recreation Area through July 14, 2031. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harlan Fiscal Court entered into a partnering agreement in 1994.
“The facilities at the lake are all 25-35 years old and starting to show age and requiring more intensive maintenance and upkeep,” said Robinson. “In my opinion, our roads and playground equipment will require considerable work over the next few years. Lake employees and county employees, who work there, take great pride in Martins Fork Lake and serving the citizens of Harlan County. We do appreciate the support of the Harlan Fiscal Court.”
Robinson listed some of the accomplishments at Martins Fork Lake have been the re-roofing of picnic shelters in 2012, Cawood Water District is now serving all lake facilities and they have an annual law enforcement agreement with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office to provide increased law enforcement from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop suggested moving a vehicle from the county road department to be used in the Smith Recreation Area, however no action was taken on that suggestion, as well as all the other requests submitted by Robinson.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext.115, firstname.lastname@example.org