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Boone County Fiscal Court gives go-ahead on parks plan for two new county parks

By Patricia A. Scheyer
NKyTribune reporter

The Boone County Director of Parks, David Whitehouse, came to the regular Fiscal Court meeting this week to ask the Commissioners if they could start the process for two projects at Boone County Parks.

Boone County Parks Director David Whitehouse asks Boone County Fiscal Court to start two park projects. (Photos by Patricia Scheyer/NKyTribune)

“During the pandemic, when everyone else was shut down, we were thriving, I mean you couldn’t find an empty spot to park,” he told the court. “People were at our parks everyday because they didn’t have anywhere else to go. I think the things that stood out the most were hiking, biking and trails. Pickleball, of course as you know, from our July 28 meeting, is a huge undertaking, everybody is excited about pickleball.”

He presented the plans for 8 new pickleball courts in the old Union pool site, and a new handicapped park in Boone Woods Park. Whitehouse told the court the estimated cost of each project is $375,000.

“I concur with both projects,” said Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore. “This money is already in our current fiscal year budget so this does not need to involve a transfer, it is there waiting for approval of such projects.”

Whitehouse explained how they tried to ask everybody in the county what they wanted to see in the parks. He said they even talked to and listened to the cricket people.

“This was grassroots from the beginning,” he said. “We sent out over 3,000 surveys.”

He explained that he worked with a consultant, a local contractor who has experience in building pickleball courts, and it was recommended that they build 8 pickleball courts, 64 feet for each, along with fencing, windscreens, and a small covered shelter. He said there will also be an alternate bid for a restroom building, and due to the fact that the site did contain a pool, the water and sewer would already be in place. Whitehouse said if they can’t make the money stretch to a restroom, they will do that project at a later time. They also want to repave the parking at that site.

“Right now we only have two pickleball courts on an old volleyball court,” he said. “In all our parks that we manage, we have two handicapped swings in two parks. We will build the first handicapped accessible park in Boone County. There will be no loose mulch, it will actually have a surface you can put wheelchairs on.”

Whitehouse said if they could get the go-ahead from commissioners Tuesday night, they might be able to have both projects done by Labor Day, so he was anxious to get started.

Judge Moore said the Union Park is actually a county park, comprising 50 acres, but the improvements won’t have participation from the city, even though the city did annex the site so it is in the city limits. He clarified that the site for the pickleball courts are toward the front of the park, and they would not be doing the courts instead of the large shelter that is in the plans.

“I still feel that the large shelter has tremendous potential,” said Moore. “With the $750,000 we have in the current budget we can’t do that large of a shelter, and these are the priorities for now. I do think as we look at future budgets and future potential for that area, I do think that the large shelter has great merit.”

Right now the Boone County Parks do not have a shelter that could accommodate 250 people, and Whitehouse said they do have corporations that ask about the large shelter frequently.

Commissioners voted to authorize the projects, and both projects would then go out to bid.

Everything will come back to the court for approval and final purchase.

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