Bill Monroe HomeplaceROSINE, Ky. (2/25/16) — The Jerusalem Ridge Foundation has a new executive director after former director Campbell Mercer resigned.

Mercer, who served as JRF Executive Director since 2001, resigned two weeks ago, according to Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston.

At that time, Tom Ewing was named the new executive director. Mercer later resigned from the JRF board and has reportedly left the foundation altogether.

Ewing, a longtime member of the JRF, played guitar as part of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys up until Monroe’s death in 1996.

Mercer’s term as executive director was a rocky one as he was involved in several lawsuits and a very public battle with Ohio County businessman, Hayward Spinks. One of Mercer and Spinks’ disagreements revolved around real estate located next to the Bill Monroe Homeplace.

At times, Spinks allowed the JRF to use a parcel of his land for parking during its Bluegrass festival. After Spinks and Mercer became involved in lawsuits, Spinks prohibited the use of the land for parking. In the end, the JRF’s festival was moved to Mercer’s farm.

Johnston sees the regime change as a chance for the JRF to get back to what it was meant to do from the beginning.

“We still have a (lease) agreement with the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation, and with cooperation from Ohio County Tourism and the county, the Foundation should be able to move on and have shows and visits to the homeplace and move on with business,” Johnston said.

The lease agreement Johnston spoke of, was an agreement for the county to lease the Bill Monroe Homeplace to the JRF for $1 a year. As part of the agreement, the JRF would be the caretakers of the homeplace.

Johnston didn’t know if the JRF would try to host a Bluegrass festival at the homeplace, but he believes there’s a better chance of it happening now.

“(The JRF) will still have the issue of dealing with (Spinks) to get permission to park, but they are in a much better position to do so now.”

Lee Bratcher
SurfKY News

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