By Eric Steinkopff / Staff Writer

Board members formally chose to drop the idea of purchasing an old historic bridge in northern Laurel County at the London-Laurel County Tourist Commission meeting Wednesday.

Proposals were due March 30 to accept a 200-foot-long, single-span steel Pennsylvania Petit Truss Bridge built 85 years ago — a structure that is to be replaced by a new bridge, which will cost the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet about $750,000.

Interest from at least 20 possible recipients has been whittled down to four and now does not include the Tourist Commission. The commission had hoped to acquire it to span the levies between two lakes in Kentucky Hills Heritage Park — roughly 100 acres the group is trying to develop west of Interstate 75 between exits 41 and 38.

The exact cost to move the structure is still unknown and it is difficult to get reasonable estimates, but the Transportation Cabinet will pay the recipient $40,000 to $50,000 — roughly what it would cost for the state to demolish the bridge.

“The new owner would be responsible for any cost over that,” said Transportation Cabinet Historic Preservation Officer Dean Croft. “If they leave it (intact), there is a mechanism to give them the money we would have spent to demolish the bridge to be spent toward maintenance of the bridge.”

According to Croft, four groups have submitted proposals — an interested party in Georgia, a non-profit group near Winchester, Brock Excavating in southern Laurel County, and Chris Day and Earl Robinson in northern Laurel County.

The latter group hopes to leave the structure in place as a historical landmark.

“We’re trying to find somebody in state — that would be the first choice,” said Croft.

Other topics covered by the commission Wednesday include:

• A building at Heritage Park to be constructed in stages so that it might be used following a first phase while raising money for follow-on phases.

• A book signing scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at the commission’s office by David Owens, author of “Baptism in Blood” and “McNitt’s Defeat.” For more information call 878-6900.

• Sharon Kidd of Brookhaven Christian Bookstore received approval to request that the state erect a sign on Interstate 75 designating London as a stop on the Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trail.

• Craig Boone reminded the board that there are weekend events ongoing at the London Dragway throughout the summer that should bring car drivers and motorcycle riders from the surrounding counties, as well as three to four major attractions encouraging regional gatherings across state lines. The Daniel Boone Motocross event on May 12 will be a sanctioned and televised event. For more information call 878-8883 or visit www.londondragway.com.

• There is a Festival of Quilts event in London April 19-21 that will include experts to appraise various works. For more information call 864-7777.

“The is the first time the quilt bus has been to London,” said London-Laurel County Tourist Commission Secretary Meta Ball.

• There is also a Master Gardener Flower and Garden Show in London April 28-29. For more information call 864-4167.

• There are plans for a National Archery Association tournament in London on May 1. For more information call 878-6900.

• London is also hosting a Kentucky Tourism Developer’s Symposium that should bring in between 100 and 150 people June 6. For more information call 878-6900.

Eric Steinkopff can be reached at esteinkopff@thetimestribune.com.

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