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Belknap Park Renovation

Oldham County officials
have plans to change the landscape

A contract is still needed
to make the necessary changes

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

GOSHEN, Ky. (December 2011) – Oldham County’s park system seems to be growing. Plans are under way for the addition of a new park while an existing park has received much needed funding for paved walking trails.
The county has had its eye on Belknap Park in Goshen for some time. “It’s been an ongoing discussion several years for us,” said Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele.

Belknap Park Location

Maintenance of the 25-acre park has become more difficult for the entity that owns the land, the North Oldham Lion’s Club, said Voegele. The county is sitting on the sideline but “will accept it if it is given to us and the county park system,” he said.
“We want to make it as nice as we can,” said Voegele. “We have agreed to keep it as a passive park.”
The atmosphere of the park will stay focused on relaxation more than the installation of ball fields and having a variety of recreational activities.
“Once we have a contract, we can take a look at steps to improve it,” he said. A transfer of ownership “should take place within the next 60 days.”
The county would begin implementing its plans for the park in spring 2012, he said.
There are currently two buildings on the property. The county intends to improve the park and possibly add playground equipment.
“It will be a great addition to the parks system,” said Tim Curtis, director of Oldham County Parks and Recreation. “There is no county park in the northeastern part of the county.”
Another possible use for six acres of the existing Belknap Park would be for the Goshen branch of the Oldham County Public Library. “We are currently leasing a small building on the grounds of the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve,” said Oldham County Public Library Director Susan Eubank.
“Our intent is to move the branch there,” on six acres the North Oldham Lion’s Club has given the library, she said. The Goshen branch has been located in a renovated dairy barn dating to the late 1800s on the nature preserve property for the last 28 years.
For a large portion of those years, the library has used the space rent free. It now has to pay a lease, said Eubank. But the space is “so small that it is an underserved area by the building we currently have.”
Eubank said library staff wants to focus on what the area needs most, which includes an adequate place for children’s programs, a meeting room, technological upgrades and proper handicap accessibility. With so much to consider, this would be a long-range plan, she said.
When a new main branch was built in La Grange, Eubank saw a definite increase in the number of people who came into the new building and in the number of items that were checked out. Based on these statistics, “it was 80 to 90 percent higher than in the old building.”
A new 15,000-foot branch library would cost between $4.8 million and $5.2 million, said Eubank. She has applied for a Public Library Construction Grant, which is a debt-retirement grant. Eubank applied for and received a $2.4 million similar grant for the main library branch in La Grange.
When it comes to funding a new branch, a lot depends on the state Legislature, she said. The government “took away a lot of library funding over the last two to three years. We’re trying to advocate adding construction funding into the budget.”
“The library wants to build a branch adjacent to the park so that it can all meld together,” said Voegele. “They want to be on the northeast side.”
Voegele said he has waited a long time to have something on the north side of the county. Most of the land in that area is privately held.
“The gift of the land was a big boon to us,” said Eubank. “We are very grateful to the Lion’s Club for considering a new library for the space.”
The land was initially given to the North Oldham Lion’s Club by the William Belknap family. The park was named for this family, which was “quite supportive of libraries,” Voegele said.
In addition to possibly acquiring Belknap Park, the county park system was recently awarded a $41,600 Recreational Trails Grant. The money will be used to pave 2 1/2 miles of walking trials at Wendell Moore Park in Buckner.
“The trails currently have a crushed limestone surface, which is prone to washing out during heavy rains,” said Curtis. Work is expected to begin on the trails in spring 2012 after winter repairs have been made and the surfaces prepared for paving, Curtis said.

Back to December 2011 Articles.

 

 

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