City of Whitesburg, KY: Downtown Section of the Tanglewood Downhill Trail Conceptual Master Plan

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Virginia Tech. Community Design Assistance Center

The City of Whitesburg is located within Letcher County, in the eastern portion of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Set in Appalachia along the Pine Mountain, Whitesburg is home to many natural resources including lumber, coal, and the Jefferson National Forest, which includes the Pine Mountain Trail that ultimately connects to the Appalachian Trail. Mountainous topography and the winding Kentucky River define Whitesburg and its development.

The Tanglewood Downhill Trail is a pedestrian and cyclist trail proposed to transect through the City of Whitesburg, primarily along an abandoned railway bed. This trail connects important destinations within Whitesburg, as well as connecting Whitesburg to contextual destinations such as the Pine Mountain Trail.

Because the location and route for the Tanglewood Downhill Trail was predetermined by the City, CDAC’s association with the trail consisted of three ‘focal area’ destinations along the trail, in addition to wayfinding and welcoming signage for Whitesburg along the length of the trail. These focal areas include the Farmers Market area, East Main Street, and a Downtown Trailhead.

The Downtown Section of the Tanglewood Downhill Trail Conceptual Master Plan project aims to visualize Whitesburg as a Trail Town and achieve a cohesive downtown experience along the trail, encourage economic growth, and enhance pedestrian experiences. This project comes in the wake of many new programs and efforts, positive energy, and progressive projects. The following list exemplifies such efforts and includes the connectedness of the Tanglewood Downhill Trail, Whitesburg’s Trail Town Initiative, the Whitesburg Health Department, East Main Street and downtown revitalization, the Farmers Market, as well as a Healthy Living Initiative.

In anticipation of Trail Town Certification, the City of Whitesburg applied for a grant from the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s (KDF) Restoring Environmental Quality (REQ) grant program for conceptual design work. With the assistance of this grant, the City of Whitesburg accepted a design proposal for the Community Design Assistance Center to assist the city with the following goals and objectives, as outlined by the city and city stakeholders:

1. To create a vision toward their desire for ‘Trail Town Certification’;
2. To plan for the downtown section of the Tanglewood Downhill Trail;
3. To plan downtown streetscape and greenspace improvements;
4. To conserve, protect, and enhance community natural resources;
5. To provide opportunities for ‘Healthy Living’ and alternative modes of transportation;
6. To visualize a downtown gateway experience;
7. To provide places where the city could showcase local arts and culture;
8. To locate an access to the Kentucky River;
9. To conceptualize signage and wayfinding design along the Downtown Section of the Tanglewood Downhill Trail

The goals and objectives, as outlined by the City of Whitesburg and city stakeholders align with CDAC’s core goals and principles of design for communities that CDAC partners with, as evidenced by CDAC’s mission statement below. The CDAC team worked closely with the Whitesburg community throughout the design process in order to provide the most appropriate design concepts for the Whitesburg community.

Landscape architecture – Kentucky -- Whitesburg -- Designs and plans., Parks -- Kentucky -- Whitesburg -- Designs and plans., City planning -- Kentucky -- Whitesburg -- Designs and plans., Whitesburg (Ky.) -- Planning.