Polls are always fun -- especially the non-controversial ones.
It's even better when the topics are something we can all look forward to.
For the past couple of weeks, we asked our readers which community project currently in the works they are most looking forward to:
1. The winter ice skating rink at SomerSplash.
2. The rebirth of the Virginia Cinema.
3. Burnside's bigger and better Christmas Island.
4. The Riverboat at Burnside Island.
It seems Burnside is getting plenty of love from our readers.
The Riverboat at Burnside Island was the winner with 35.9% of the respondents. It does sound like fun! Especially when we, as modern folk, get to enjoy the boat for recreation while celebrating its more practical place in history.
"In the early and mid-1900s, steamboats were a regular shipping option for products manufactured in old downtown Burnside," said Burnside Tourism Director Frank Crabtree, Jr.. "There were seven industrial mills in the old Burnside prior to the creation of Lake Cumberland. Jobs were so plentiful that there was an old saying, 'Don't walk in downtown Burnside unless your looking for a job because they will put you to work!'"
But even then, Crabtree noted, recreational riverboats were part of the original master plan for the lake -- one aspect of the plan that's never been realized. If Burnside has its way, that will soon change.
Crabtree said he spoke with local legislators about how to make this a reality, and would eventually reach an agreement with BB Riverboats, which operates vessels on the Ohio River, like the Belle of Cincinnati and River Queen.
It sounds like locals and tourists alike will soon be able to take winery cruises, jazz brunches, and more are all the sorts of things that BB Riverboats could potentially offer on Lake Cumberland, and Crabtree said it's likely the boat will visit lake communities all over the region.
Coming in No. 2 in the voting at 30.6% is the rebirth of the beloved Virginia Cinema in downtown Somerset.
Soon the Virginia will be home to local theater events that will pump more life into the downtown area.
"To me, the Virginia has always been the heart of the city," said John Alexander, a longtime proponent of resurrecting the Virginia. "It's certainly my favorite spot in Somerset. My love of the movies makes me appreciate the cinema for what it was, and my love of live theater makes me hopeful for what it can be."
At No. 3 (19.4%), Is the bigger and better Christmas Island at the General Burnside State Park. Once a staple during the holiday season in Pulaski County, the lights and displays have been packed away for two decades. But Crabtree wants to bring it back -- this time with more sophisticated, high-tech displays.
"One of the things we really took into consideration was to make the presentation different than the saturated market that it is right now," said Crabtree. "We did a competitive analysis and gathered all the information on every light display in the Commonwealth -- the price structure, what they're offering, (etc.). Our main goal was to create a different experience that was unique. Some of the technology we're looking at right now is a lot more animated that what's typically presented, the steel frame and LED lighting fixture. That will still be a component of it, but we also want to do a better presentation or a better show, much like watching a cartoon in real life."
Plans are to have the new Christmas Island begin for the 2021 holiday season on November 18 and run until the first of the new year.
And bringing up the rear with a still very respectable 14.1% is the proposed ice skating rink at SomerSplash. Wouldn't a skating rink and Christmas Village go well with Christmas Island?
We have some great projects on the rise in Pulaski County. It's definitely an exciting time to live in Somerset, Ky.
THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD consists of Mark Walker, Publisher; Jeff Neal, Editor; Steve Cornelius, Sports Editor; Mary Ann Flynn, Advertising; Shirley Randall, Production; and Christopher Harris, Staff Writer.