Harlan County officials look to preserve tourist attractions

LYNCH, Ky. (AP) – Harlan County officials are looking to preserve two unique attractions in an effort to increase tourism.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports one of those is Portal 31, an exhibition underground coal mine, and the other is Benham’s School House Inn, where guests may stay in converted classrooms.

Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College has subsidized the attractions for years, providing staffing, management and money.

College President Lynn Moore notified county Judge-Executive Dan Mosley in February that the college would stop operating the inn and mine exhibit June 30 due to financial reasons.

Mosley said he’s considering funding and other options to keep the attractions open but hasn’t settled on a solution.

Officials have worked to boost tourism as the region’s coal jobs have plunged by more than half in recent years.