‘Take these mountains down’: New project makes Paintsville Lake accessible for all

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Published: May. 10, 2022 at 8:04 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Casting for Kids is looking out for the Paintsville community.

A new project kicked off Tuesday, with a ribbon-cutting near the boat ramp at Paintsville Lake. Local and state representatives gathered to celebrate the opening of a new initiative that aims to open the waterway to more people.

The Casting for Kids Boardwalk and Kayak Launch will provide an ADA-compliant space for people with mobility differences to enjoy the waterfront in a way they may not have been able to before.

The boardwalk will wrap around the bank area near the flag poles, providing a place for fishing or more for those who rely on wheelchairs or other mobility assistance. The new structure will also give easier access to launch kayaks in the same area that is currently used for that purpose.

The vision was born from the Casting for Kids founders, Faith and Chris Ferguson, based on the mobility issues Faith lives with. Chris said it is a blessing to see his community support Casting for Kids, but it is especially heartwarming to see this project come to fruition.

“This community may not have the biggest lake, but we sure got the biggest heart,” he said. ”When you get everyone together, you could take these mountains down.”

The boardwalk will be funded by grant money secured by the county. Finding those funds, to avoid seeing the organization pay for the project with money that would otherwise be used to support the Shriners Children’s Hospital, is something Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie said the county was happy to accommodate.

“This is a community project and that’s what we should be about,” he said. “We’re serving our residents and our citizens. We’re serving those who may have some challenges that they need help overcoming.”

He said this means a quicker turnaround for the project and more help for kids- both in the hospital and in the community.

“You better believe that’s going to be a great day- whenever we have this project complete and we see folks that are able to go down this pier and fish off this boardwalk into the water, or go out there and get on their kayak- that’s when it becomes real,” said McKenzie.

Ferguson agreed, saying while Tuesday was an exciting day to announce the project, he is ready for the most exciting part of all: seeing the boardwalk used by people who may be experiencing the lake for the first time.

“It’ll be tears. Yeah, for me, it’ll be tears,” he said.

The project is expected to be complete before the end of the year- with those involved hoping to see the structure in use by the next spring season.

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