Louisville Mayor Armstrong
to speak at John Paul Park Dinner
Band, free Trolley rides
part of evening events
(April 2010) Former Louisville, Ky., Mayor
and Jefferson County Judge-Executive David L. Armstrong will never forget
the time as a youth when he and three other boys were all stacked onto
one sled in Madison, Ind.s John Paul Park, and just as they topped
a hill, a photographer snapped a picture of them. To this day, that
memory and thousands of others of his childhood and John Paul Park have
helped shape his life and given him a quest to make sure other children
have a neighborhood park in which to play and develop strong community
Armstrong, who grew up in Madison, will be the guest speaker
at the inaugural John Paul Park Conservancy Annual Spring Fundraising
Dinner, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday, April 23, in the Overlook Room
at Clifty Inn. He will discuss the importance of neighborhood parks
and how they contribute to the legacy of a community. In addition to
Armstrongs speech and a buffet dinner, the Doctors Band will provide
music for dancing, and the Madison Trolley will offer abbreviated tours
of Clifty Falls State Park.
Madison city founder John Paul gave the land the John Paul Park is situated
on for use as a city cemetery in 1823. The site was located outside
the developed area of the town on a plateau above Crooked Creek and
its floodplain. The last burial was in the late 1830s, and in 1903,
The John Paul Chapter of the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution
obtained permission to create the citys first park on the property.
Today, the park is in serious need of a major restoration and renovation,
according to John Paul Chapter DAR representative Jill Keller. The John
Paul Park Conservancys Board of Directors has put together a three-phased,
multi-million dollar project plan that will eventually stabilize and
secure erosion on the parks hillside, add an amphitheater and
band shell to the west end of the lower level and fix the drainage situation
in the park.
We are meeting with consulting landscape architects and hope to
get engineers to give us estimates on the stabilization portion of the
project, said Keller. We are also preparing for a feasibility
study that will allow us to apply for grant money.
The conservancy is researching grant money that may be available for
the project. We will still need matching funds, and we hope the
community continues to give to the park, said Keller. John
Paul Park is an important part of the communitys history. We need
to secure it for the future.
The fundraising dinner is just one of several events being planned to
help raise funds for the historic park, according to event chairperson
Mary Jo Herrala. The conservancy just received its nonprofit status,
and is working to set some parameters and structure for
more fundraisers, she said.
We need $50,000 for the architectural project, said Herrala.
We only have $14,000 of that, and we hope the community supports
the efforts to save our park.
She said the spring fundraiser should be a fun event for everyone. Even
if the park isnt your thing, we have a great evening of entertainment
Armstrong, whose Louisville legacy included his signature Louisville
Extreme Park, has championed neighborhood park development across the
globe. My childhood in Madison was idyllic, said Armstrong,
currently the Chairman of the Kentucky Public Service Commission, John
Paul Park was central to many of my fondest memories, and I am happy
to be a part of the effort to rehabilitate and restore it.
Armstrong believes that parks are the legacy of the future,
but are often taken for granted.
A city gains by keeping people in place. Parks help keep people
in neighborhoods, and keep children in a relationship with their community,
he said. Once a nearly forgotten park is upgraded, or a new park
is established, it raises the value of neighborhood property and becomes
a new feature to attract people to that community.
Armstrong moved to Madison from Hope, Ark., in 1953 with his family.
His father, Lyman, was a manager of the former Ben Franklins, a five
and dime store on Main Street. His mother, Elizabeth, was a volunteer
at the Madison Jefferson County Public Library.
His familys home was on Third Street, right across from John Paul
Park. Today, the First Baptist Church stands on the site of his boyhood
home. My childhood was at John Paul Park, he said. I
credit Madison for my wonderful childhood.
In addition to hanging out at the park, as he got older he worked washing
windows for his father and other businesses along Main Street, was the
first lifeguard at the former Madison Country Club, and he was also
a camp counselor for the Boy Scouts at Camp Louis Ernst. He spent his
summers swimming at Crystal Beach Pool and enjoyed eating at Hinkles
Diner and Mundts.
He graduated from Madison High School in 1959 and won a track and field
scholarship to Hanover College. After an injury, however, he left Hanover
and finished his undergraduate degree at Murray State University in
Kentucky. He went on to finish law school at the University of Louisville
and spent decades in public service as a three-time Louisville mayor,
a family court judge, and Attorney General of Kentucky.
Tickets for the John Paul Park Annual Spring
Fundraiser are $60 per person and $100 per couple prior to April 15.
After that date, tickets are $75 per person and $125 per couple. Reservations
can be made and tickets purchased by calling Mary Jo Herrala at (812)
Back to April 2010 Articles.