Jerusalem Ridge Foundation Wins Favor of Kentucky Court!

“Jerusalem Ridge could be the next Branson.”  Image634807155284586036

According to the Ohio County Monitor, every (Kentucky) magistrate, judge-executive, governor and politician have uttered those words at one time or another.

On Tuesday night the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation made their final presentation to the Ohio county Kentucky Fiscal Court on the importance of securing Jerusalem Ridge.  

The Court then went into closed session for over 20 minutes.

When they came out, Judge Executive David Johnston issued a statement saying:

“We are 100% behind the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation and the festival, we are one with them; we just aren’t ready to vote on eminent domain; we are still working through the process, looking at all options, etc.” Apparently they may have still been shy one vote. David was a personal friend of Bill Monroe’s. He explained the option would “stay on the table.”

According to Campbell Mercer of the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation,  “the court thinks there may be another way to convince the land owner, who has vowed that there will not be a festival, to sell one day.”

In an email, Mercer laid out four options the Foundation will now be considering:

OPTION #1:     Move the main stage next door to Mercer farm 1 and keep a smaller stage at the home place complete with TV show taping. Fans would be able to shuttle, drive, or hike to the home place from the Mercer farm 1.

This farm was part of the historic Clarence Wilson farm and was Monroe land before that. Clarence was Uncle Pen’s best friend. Uncle Pen lived on this farm for a couple of years, farmed it with Clarence and the two of them made merry music right in its hills and hollers. Clarence was perhaps the first banjo player that young Bill Monroe ever heard. When Bill added the banjo (the famous Stringbean Akeman) to the Blue Grass Boys in the 1943 he said that he wanted to recreate the “sound I heard back on the farm in Kentucky.” This is likely the farm he was talking about. Camping would be free and of course there would be no hook –ups.

OPTION #2:   Move the main stage six miles back toward Cromwell to Mercer farm 2 and keep a smaller stage at the home place complete with TV show taping. Fans would be able to shuttle, or drive to the home place.

This farm sits very near the old one room school house where Uncle Pen, Bill and Charlie played for square dances and would offer a wooded amphitheatre that looks very much like our present one. This farm offers more parking and camping, easier access and would take less time to prepare. Whereas, we are begging the Fiscal Court for 32 acres, this farm is 148 acres which offers lots of room to  grow. Cromwell is where Arnold Shultz was from. Arnold was the great African American guitarist and fiddler who influenced and played with young Bill and with the thumb pickers of Muhlenberg County one county to the west. Dry camping would free here also.

OPTION #3:     Go to the Ohio County Park. (10 miles) The court made this formal offer Tuesday night.

This park has been available for the past 12 years but we always thought that bluegrass is farm music and as such should be enjoyed on a farm and in the beautiful woods and should be close as possible to its source.  Tent camping would be free. There would be a charge for RVs payable to the Ohio County Park.

OPTION #4:   Cancel the 2012 Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration an d focus on making new TV shows with archived footage that has never been aired. The Foundation would then spend a year trying to find another location, or hoping that the county finally purchases the ridge.

Mercer also said the Foundation would work toward securing the ridge no matter which option was chosen.

Calling this a “Great American Moment”, Mercer said volunteers are coming next week to build an exact replica of the present Jerusalem Ridge Stage. He refers to the event as an “old-fashioned stage raising”, like a barn raising. Neighbors are donating cedar trees for the stage posts.

1 comment:

niall toner said...

Congratulations to Campbell Mercer and ll involved in the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival campaign. As I said in my letter of support, the site at the home of the Father Of Bluegrass should be enshrined in the American Constitution.