New renderings visualize plans for Kentucky rail attraction

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RAVENNA, Ky. – New renderings showcase Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp’s plans for a 45-acre Kentucky Rail Heritage Center near the site of CSX Transportation’s former Louisville & Nashville Ravenna Yard in eastern Kentucky.

Renderings released last week in partnership with a regional architectural firm reveal plans for the multi-use facility to include historic train operations and other attractions that integrate the region’s local history, natural beauty, and culture. The campus will spur economic development in a rural part of eastern Kentucky previously dominated by rail and coal operations.

Chris Campbell, president of Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp., says special attention was given to functionality, keeping long-term development and short-term utilization of the property in mind. While historic trains will be the facility’s main focus, the group intends to incorporate their presence naturally with a multi-faceted attraction that brings in visitors with different interests.

The Lexington-based nonprofit has already started working on the proposed rail campus, thanks in part due to a temporary lease agreement with CSX Transportation, which is the owner of the property. The nonprofit and CSX have already inked a purchase agreement for the land.

As plans move forward, the group continues to evaluate funding opportunities, including available grants through organizations like the Appalachian Regional Commission. To date, the group has generated most of its money through private donations.

This fall, the group will launch a formal fundraising campaign for the center and will kick off support for the project with a Ravenna Railroad Festival on Sept. 22.

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