Local business: Shuttling off to Buffalo (Ridge), and other places in the state park

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Brian Yeatman's planned shuttle service will pick up and drop off passengers at the Nashville General Store in the south end of town. Ben Kibbey

A Nashville shop owner is ready to start shuttling tourists and local between Nashville and Brown County State Park.

Nashville General Store owner Brian Yeatman has invested about $50,000 in buses and is awaiting a few final details — such as the town of Nashville finalizing the application process for shuttle services — to be resolved before he can get started.

If all goes smoothly, buses could be ferrying passengers between Nashville and the park by July 1, he said.

“I’ve just had a lot of customers over the last two years saying that when they were at the park, they couldn’t get to town,” Yeatman said.

He began informally surveying customers about whether they would use a shuttle service between Nashville and the state park. “Everybody just jumped right on it,” he said.

Having the service could help to relieve some of the parking issues in Nashville and draw a little more business to the south end of town, where Yeatman plans to drop off and pick up customers near his store on East Washington, he said.

His shuttle could also make life easier for locals who work at the park — or want to work at the park — but lack reliable transportation. “So, I’m gonna offer them, at a discount, transportation to the park,” he said.

Yeatman plans to run the shuttle at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Starting out, he will have one 20-passenger bus running of the three he has bought. As the need or demand arises, he can adjust, he said.

His main goal is to concentrate on the park, and Yeatman has already signed a contract with the state to allow access for his buses, he said. However, he is open to providing shuttle service to other places in the county if there is demand or a special event.

There will be four stops in the park: at Abe Martin Lodge and three in the campground, he said. Passengers who are not already staying in the park will have to pay a $2 entry fee; those staying at the lodge and campground can use their pass to enter without the additional charge.

Yeatman also plans to offer a bike rack on the bus.

“I think it’s gonna be a good thing for the town,” he said.

To accommodate shuttle services, the town council has approved amending the ordinance that gives horse-drawn carriages permission to use specific parking space in town for loading and unloading passengers, to include “or shuttles.”

Any shuttle service can transport passengers to and from Nashville without a permit, said Town Manager/Economic Director Scott Rudd. However, they need a permit from the town to operate from a designated parking space, such as Yeatman wishes to do.

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.