The Warren County Fiscal Court voted 6-0 to declare a 1/4 mile disputed stretch of Beech Bend Road as county property. The decision was applauded by Beech Bend Park owner Dallas Jones, who has been locked in a dispute with ex-appellate court judge Matt Baker over who owns the road.
Jones contends the road is, and always has been a public and county road. Baker, who owns a house bordering the road, contends the pavement is a private drive. At stake is the potential for millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue due to several race promoters who are or have threatened to take their events away from Beech Bend Raceway because they need to use the disputed stretch of road for tractor-trailer access.
Beech Bend owners used testimony, maps, and historical ordinances to back their contention that the county has owned and maintained the road for more than 50 years. Baker's attorneys dispute that claim, and say any declaration that the road is public would be taking away Baker's private property.
The fiscal court's decision to declare the road is public property means that Beech Bend can continue to use it for traffic to and from the racetrack, and opens the possibility for expansion of the road. Jones has repeatedly asked the court to pave an additional 3 feet on either side of the road.
The issue is far from final, as a civil lawsuit between the two parties is still undecided in the Boyle County Circuit Court docket, where it was moved to due local publicity.