A group of Bowling Green business leaders met on Tuesday evening in hopes of ending a battle over a stretch of Beech Bend Road.
They say this dispute, which has been argued over for more than three years, has already cost the city of Bowling Green millions of dollars in tourism money.
The public forum was held at Ryan’s Steakhouse. The battle centers around the last 700 feet of Beech Bend Road that Former Court of Appeals Judge Matt Baker says is a private road that belongs to him. Beech Bend owner Dallas Jones says it’s public, he uses it as a route for trucks in and out of his race track.
In August the Court of Appeals ruled that the road does belong to the county, but Baker is appealing that decision.
There was standing room only as hundreds of Beech Bend supporters packed Ryan’s to discuss the economic impact of the contoversy and speak their opinion about the future of Bowling Green if Beech Bend Park were to close. Jeremy Bratcher, a Bowling Green hotel manager says the economic impact the raceway has is far reaching.
“Basically, we’re looking at $31.5 million, that’s brought in as a result of Beech Bend. State estimates say that those dollars change hands seven times,” Bratcher says.
In September the National Hot Rod Association announced that it would no longer hold its annual reunion at Beech Bend because of the on going dispute. Bratcher says the Bowling Green economy will lose $5 million because of the event not returning.
Tonight’s forum also attracted several local politicians a few of them took the opportunity to express their support for the park.
Matt Baker says he would like to settle the road issue but says tonight’s forum was not the way.
“I think there’s a much better way for someone to spend his time and resources, but if Mr. Jones wants to have a rally, I suppose that’s his business,” Baker states.
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