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Hustonville to hold grand opening of Ruritan Park

For three days in May, volunteers crowded into the Hustonville Ruritan Park with a major task at hand – planting over 800 trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials native to Kentucky.

The convergence at the park, which is situated along Baughman and Hanging Fork Creek, was the result of the City of Hustonville and the Hustonville Ruritan Club working with Bluegrass Greensource and the Kentucky River Authority to establish a native streamside (riparian) buffer along the creek. The streambank buffer included native trees, shrubs, grasses and plants suitable for life along a Kentucky stream.

The City of Hustonville is now ready to show off the hard work of all the volunteers by hosting a grand opening celebration at the park pavilion on West Main Street on Saturday, July 20.

The city invites the community to come out for the event, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m., to learn about the park improvements and future plans. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket for the family and enjoy live music and good eats.

Along with the music and food, Bluegrass Greensource will be on hand to provide stream-side activities and learning experiences and fun for the kids.

The riparian program is part of a larger effort to improve water quality within the Hanging Fork watershed. Through a grant from the Kentucky Division of Water, Bluegrass Greensource was able to offer the city an 80/20 cost-share grant for the establishment of the buffer in Hustonville Ruritan Park. The city also received a Kentucky River Authority Watershed Grant to help with the installation of the buffer and education signage that will go up this summer.

The ultimate goal of introducing a diverse selection of native species to buffer zones is to hold soil in place and protect the streambanks from the removal of soil, rocks, and other woody materials. Streamside buffers have many other benefits, including trapping and filtering sediment and other pollutants from stormwater runoff, reducing flood damage, providing shade and habitat to streams, recharging groundwater sources, and improving the aesthetic value of landscapes.

While the planting process is over, the City of Hustonville is looking for more volunteers. As with any new planting project, maintenance will be crucial as the new plants fight to beat out their invasive competitors and weeds, and the city is in need of volunteers willing to help with continued maintenance of the buffer.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to find out more, contact Hustonville City Hall at (606) 669-1056.

Hustonville Ruritan Park is located within the Hanging Fork watershed, so all of its water will drain into Hanging Fork Creek. However, the Hanging Fork watershed is part of larger watersheds. Hanging Fork Creek drains into the Dix River, which flows into the Kentucky River, then the Ohio River, later joining the Mississippi, until it eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The City hopes this project will help inspire community interest, education, and enthusiasm for continued watershed initiatives and water quality improvements in the area.