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Going green

Putney Pond tract purchased
for greenspace use by Prospect

Kentucky land group provides
grant to help fund purchase

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

PROSPECT, Ky. (September 2008) – Prospect Mayor Todd Eberle is fond of referring to Putney Pond and Woodlands as “the last natural area within the city of Prospect.” With very few pristine open spaces, many agree that the Putney Pond area is well worth preserving.

Carl Wedeking Jr. and Mayor Todd Eberle

Photo by April Wilson

Kentucky Heritage Land
Conservation Fund Vice Chairman
of the Board Carl Wedekind Jr.
(left) poses with Prospect
Mayor Todd Eberle during a
ceremony to mark the city's
purchase of Putney Pond.

The 25-acre property sits off of U.S. Hwy. 42, close to the rear of Prospect City Hall. Little Hunting Creek flows directly behind City Hall and this creek, together with an earthen dam and spillway, creates Putney Pond.
“We want to preserve it and allow people to enjoy it as it is,” Eberle said of the area that has so far been spared from development. Two-thirds of the land is heavily forested.
The purchase price was around $700,000. The city paid roughly $360,000 for the property, which was owned by developer Steve Cox. This is in addition to a $320,000 grant awarded by the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund in fall 2006. Competitive grants such as this one are offered for city and county governments and public schools to use toward the purchase of green space.
There have been a lot of interim negotiations over the past several years, said Eberle. “It’s been a long road.”
The city filed information with the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund “about the property, how it would be used and preserved, and the value it would be to Prospect citizens and the wider community,” said Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Vice Chairman of the Board Carl Wedekind Jr.
Revenue for the fund is generated from the sale of nature license plates, a portion of the state unmined minerals tax and environmental fines. Purchase of these license plates supports the preservation of crucial areas across Kentucky, adding almost $1 million to the fund’s budget each year, said Wedekind. The current plates feature the hummingbird, Cumberland Falls and dragonflies.

Todd Eberle

Todd Eberle

A 12-member board administers the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund with the mission of awarding funding for the purchase and preservation of selected natural areas in the Commonwealth, protects rare and endangered species and migratory birds, saves threatened areas of natural importance, and provides natural areas for public use, outdoor recreation and education.
Currently, the fund has undertaken projects in 53 Kentucky counties, totaling 31,523 acres. Its goal is to have projects in all 120 Kentucky counties.
The Putney Pond property contains a four-acre man-made pond that is approximately 80 years old. A previous owner named the property in honor of his son who was killed in World War I.
“The property is a combination of wetlands, a pond, and woodlands, all of which are quite rare in the middle of a densely populated urban area,” Wedekind said. There are no known rare or endangered species on the property, but “it is important to migratory birds and will provide a very scenic natural area for public use, outdoor recreation and education.”
There is still one residential parcel on the land, a log cabin, whose owner has lived there for the past five years. The surrounding land is protected by a conservation easement, preserving it for such purposes as hiking, fishing, environmental education and the general enjoyment of nature.
“It obviously is a beautiful place to walk, to observe many species of birds, particularly waterfowl, and to teach the ecological curative values of wetlands in the natural environment,” said Wedekind. “Open natural areas in a crowded community add immensely to ht quality of urban life.”
The property may someday connect to a network of trails that would ultimately connect to Louisville’s 100-Mile Loop system, said Eberle. “A planned trail would go through Prospect and right past the Putney Pond area,” he said. Development of this shared-use path is a long term goal, and will not happen any time soon.
“Our main focus was always to preserve the property,” said Eberle.

• For more information on the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, visit: www.dnr.ky.gov/heritageland.

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