Community Park project
receives state grant
park and public boat ramp
have been there since 1950s.
Helen E. McKinney
WESTPORT, Ky. (July 2006) Westport resident
Kathy Hockersmith thinks the Westport Community Park is a real
asset to the town. But this unkempt asset is in need of a major
by Helen McKinney
the park is used primarily
during the boating season, plans are in
the works to make it a true family park.
In its heyday, Westport was a thriving river port in the
1800s. Although river travel and shipping goods by boat is no longer
a popular method of transportation, the park is still utilized for its
Originally the county seat, Westport contains the only public boat ramp
between the area and Madison, Ind. The park comprises two acres along
the Ohio River.
Hockersmith guessed that the park and ramp have been there since the
1950s when concrete block houses were built for weekend vacationers
Evidently, several government officials have also noticed the parks
state of disrepair. The 2007 Kentucky state budget includes $250,000
for repairing, widening and extending the boat ramp, and adding amenities
to the park. A trio of state and local officials were instrumental in
getting funding said Oldham County District 3 magistrate Bob Leslie:
state Sen. Ernie Harris, state Rep. David Osborne, and Oldham County
Fiscal Court magistrate Duane Murner.
Leslie also gave credit to a local citizens group, Friends of Westport.
Established in 2004, the mission of Friends of Westport is to improve
the quality of life in Westport, said Hockersmith. And to
help preserve what we have and maintain its uniqueness.
The idea (for upgrades) was presented in Fiscal Court by Michael
Braden and William Cooper, said Leslie. The men drew up a plan
and a community consensus was sought, Leslie said.
by Helen McKinney
of Westport have completed
initial upgrades but would like to see
future additional improvements.
Hockersmith said plans call for working on the bank by
terracing it down to prevent erosion, adding plantings, benches and
a floating boat dock, establishing a separate fishing dock, moving the
existing basketball goal inside the park boundaries, installing playground
equipment and creating more parking.
After completing the initial upgrades that have to be made to the dock
and ramp area, there are several supplemental improvements Friends of
Westport would like to see accomplished. Phase II of the project would
consist of acquiring up to five additional acres of land to expand the
park size. Currently, it is the smallest park in a county that has taken
great leaps in expanding its parks system.
An old theater rests upon adjoining property, which Hockersmith said
could be renovated for the Westport Community Theatre. This theater
group is scheduled to present a play on the life of abolitionist Henry
Bibb in the fall.
The county is responsible for the upkeep of the park. Westport residents
would like more attention given to maintenance.
Traffic needs to be routed one way through the park, said
Hockersmith. She feels boats need to make a loop that will swing them
around to Main Street, instead of taking side roads and dipping into
The next step in this project is to submit plans to an engineering firm.
Although the park is used primarily during the boating season, Leslie
would like to see it become a true family park for residents.
She has been instrumental in acquiring funding for reconstruction of
Hwy. 524, the main road into Westport, by getting it placed on a six-year
state budget plan for the Friends of Westport.
The next public meeting of the Friends
of Westport will be held at the schoolhouse in Westport at 7 p.m. Thursday,
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