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Elizabethtownis considering a new policy on organized foot races to remove events off major thoroughfares and create a more organized network of routes.
Police Chief Tracy Schiller said the policy includes the designation of eight formal routes race organizers could choose from, including five 5K (3.1 mile) routes and three 10K (6.2 mile) routes. The Bluegrass Cellular 5K run route, which starts at Bluegrass Cellular on Ring Road, is another option but is not ideal because it cuts across several major roads, said City Engineer Scott Reynolds.
However, because of its ties to the Heartland Festival, Schiller said the city would grandfather the route into the policy and leave it open under certain circumstances. Reynolds and Schiller offered the policy earlier this week to City Council, who will take action on the plan at a future meeting.
Some of the routes designated are existing while others have been designed by Reynolds, Schiller said. The exact locations of the routes were not immediately available, but Schiller said the majority of them remove organized races and fun runs off major city streets or state roads.
The need for such a policy arose as the city noticed an increase in interest and requests for permits for organized runs. The uptick got Schiller looking at the routes being used, many of which were “sussed out” by organizers through their knowledge of Elizabethtown, he said.
He asked for the insight of Elizabethtown Events Coordinator Sarah Vaughn and the engineering and planning departments to develop a policy that curbs the closure of major roads for long periods of time. Beyond the inconvenience of closures, Schiller said the races cross several intersections, impacting those streets as well.
The policy is designed to allow flexibility under extenuating circumstances to deviate from the routes, but as a rule the city would require reimbursement from organizers for staffing and other costs it incurs should a race want to drift from an established route.
“We’ll take a look at it,” he said.
Schiller said he does not believe in charging a race organization for “every single cone used” but instead would look to recoup costs for security details and other assistance provided by EPD and city departments to the races.
The plan, he said, does not take into account the array of trail or route options available inside Freeman Lake Park.
Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org