After years of fighting, the Beech Bend battle may be inching to a close. The Kentucky Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from property owner Matt Baker.
Last August, Baker appealed a ruling from the Supreme Court that said the road that travels through Baker's driveway was a public road. The high court had earlier over-ruled a ruling by Logan Circuit Court Judge Tyler Gill that gave Baker the property and made it private property. Now that the court has thrown out Baker's appeal, the park will still be able to use the road that has been the center of controversy for almost five years.
"I think the courts have decided and I think we went through the proper procedures and the courts have clearly said it's a county road and has been since 1914, " said Dallas Jones, Beech Bend owner.
Jones admits there were times he thought he'd lose use of the road, a move that would have severely hurt his business. Now, with the removal of the lawsuit and the county beginning the early stages of a road widening project that will allow two cars to pass at the same time, Jones feels he can get back old businesses, as well as attract new ones.
"The road work started here this morning. The trees have been cut. The fences have been moved back, and my understanding is that they're going to work very hard on this for the next several days," Jones said.
Matt Baker told WBKO he's not surprised the court decided not to do a discretionary review of the case. He said despite the ruling, he still plans on filing another lawsuit soon. In addition, Baker said he will file a complaint with the Code Enforcement Board, and ask U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Russell to reconsider a past ruling.
Jones said when the park opens its gates this season, it will be a victory for not only him, but for all of South Central Kentucky. "A huge victory for the taxpayers, a huge victory for the businesses here in Warren County and surrounding counties, and also for Beech Bend."
Both men tell WBKO they hope the county's road-widening project will finally bring an end to this saga.
Baker and Jones are expected to meet in April to discuss the matter and try to come up with a long-lasting solution.
Beech Bend will kick off its season on March 11, 2007.