Local church partnering with community to build a public park

Published 1:40 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

Build for Phase One of Westside Community Park begins Friday

HUSTONVILLE — In order to help meet the Hustonville/Moreland community’s recreation, outdoor play, fitness and social connection needs, Westside Community United Methodist Church has committed to building a destination public park on the U.S 127 corridor.

“As we sought opportunities to serve our local community, the congregation of Westside Community United Methodist Church realized they had resources that could be used to develop solutions for this challenge,” said Faron Owen, pastor of the church, in a church news release. “They developed a plan to build a safe, convenient, clean place for families to enjoy outdoor play, fitness, sports recreation and social connection.”

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According to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, 80 percent of adolescents spend over seven hours a day in front of a screen and fail to get the recommended amount of aerobic physical activity. Adults are no better; less than five percent get 30 minutes of daily physical activity. A contributing cause to these statistics is that nationally only one in five homes are within a half-mile of a park, fitness center or recreation facility.

The three closest recreational opportunities for the residents in the west side of Lincoln County are 12, 15 and 26 miles away respectively: Veterans’ Park in Stanford, Millennium Park in Danville and Anderson Dean Community Park in Harrodsburg. In the Hustonville zip code (40437) alone, there are over 1,000 kids from 569 families who have to travel for recreation, fitness and outdoor play and there are currently no public or corporate plans to address these concerns.

The initial vision for The Westside Community Park is to serve community residents and families throughout the region, and it will be constructed in phases as money is available.

“A project like this can transform a community, but it is bigger than one person or organization,” said Owen, whose church committed eight acres of land to the project. “It will take as many people and organizations as possible to make this dream a reality.”

It took less than three months for the “dream” to get a step closer to reality. Personal commitments, money from a fundraising partnership with the Hustonville Elementary PTO, a corporate contribution from AT&T, and a contribution from the local ‘Lil Cherubs organization provided enough money to build the Phase One playground.

Phase One includes an 8,500-square foot commercial-grade playground for toddlers and elementary children and a picnic pavilion to host family and community events. It will seat 250 and include accessible restrooms, a serving area, a kitchen, and staging with sound and projection.

The first phase of the park will begin construction on Friday, May 10, at 9 a.m. and the entire community is invited to help build the playground. Anyone interested and able is invited to help and lunch will be provided for everyone.

The park project is anticipated to be completed in six phases. Phase Two includes adding soccer fields, a sand volleyball court, and tetherball courts. Phase Three will expand the playground by 5,000 square feet, adding ADA accessible elements, including wheelchair-friendly surfacing. Phase Four adds a half-mile, paved walking trail and Phase Five adds a ninja fitness course. Phase Six will include a full basketball court.

Greater levels of funding could make possible elements like an amphitheater for concerts, a dog park, a community garden or even a stocked fishing pond.

The Westside Community Park will be open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. The park will be open to the public as soon as the mulch is spread.

For more information, go to www.thewestsidecommunitypark.org or contact Faron Owen at (859) 333-3902. To support the park financially go to gofundme.com/the-westside-community-park.