park The Glen
moves closer to reality
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2004) For the last
year, plans have been under way for a new conservation park in Oldham
County. La Grange residents will have a park that will retain its natural
elements, while serving as an outdoor learning center at the same time.
In August 2003, the city of La Grange acquired 11.53 acres several blocks
from the downtown business district. The Peyton Samuel Head Family Trust
awarded the city a $225,000 grant to purchase the land, now known as
The Glen, from Oldham County Investments Inc.
for the new
conservation park in Oldham County.
Former deputy city clerk Darlene Rusnak presented the
grant proposal for funding to the Head Family Trust. The park will be
paid for over a period of three years. The first installment of $150,000
was disbursed in August 2003. Two more installments of $37, 050 are
The park can be entered by a walking path on Hwy. 53, or by a parking
entrance near the corner of Maple Avenue and Monroe Street. This latter
entrance will be handicap accessible, said Rusnak. This entrance is
also a part of the La Grange historic district known as The Courts.
Residential development surrounds The Glen on three sides and a farm
on the fourth, said Josuah Gedney, an architect with Scott-Klausing
& Co. Scott-Klausing designed The Glen, which will become an urban
nature reserve, said Gedney.
The Glens nicest feature is the opportunity it will provide for
neighbors and children who dont have a place to play, continued
Gedney. While Oldham County has Walsh Park, Mundo Park and Wilborn Park,
The Glen will bring a walking park to a different quadrant of
the city, said Gedney.
When this opportunity was presented to the La Grange Parks Board, board
members saw its potential right away. It contained natural areas
not found elsewhere in the city, said La Grange Park Board Chairman
There will be no playground equipment or ball fields in The Glen. It
will remain a passive conservation park and initial plans include the
development of walking paths and learning stations, which will allow
hikers and students to learn about the natural species and features
found within The Glen. There will be one mile of paths, one half of
these comprised of natural trails within the park.
One long-term goal is to build learning stations that will educate visitors
as to the topography of The Glen, officials said. Terrain to be studied
within The Glen includes wetlands, springs, the natural ecosystem of
a pond, woods and a cave.
In designing The Glen, the parks board attempted to enhance the natural
contours of the area. A natural bowl in one spot is perfect for an amphitheater
where lectures can be held, said Gedney. In keeping with this idea,
quarried stones or rustic logs will be used for benches.
While the city of La Grange will own The Glen, the La Grange Park Board
will oversee it. Once completed, the park will be open from dawn to
dusk, and the La Grange Police Department will patrol the area, said
Gedney. Because it is a passive park, man-made amenities are restricted
to avoid disturbing the natural habitat and features of the land.
Maximum use will be made of The Glen with the cultivation of native
plants, grasses, trees and shrubs. It will be a sort of nursery
for native Kentucky plants, said Gedney. These plants will eventually
be transplanted throughout the rest of the Oldham County park system.
Two more public meetings will be held before a final plan will be submitted
to the city, said Haselton. The Parks Board meets on the first Wednesday
of the month at the Eagle Creek Golf Course in La Grange. Haselton said
he encourages the public to attend these meetings.
Grant funding was aggressively pursued last year through the Recreational
Trails Program of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.
La Grange was turned down for a grant, so the city had to re-apply under
guidelines stated in Gov. Ernie Fletchers Gold Program, said Mayor
Elsie Carter. A new federally funded grant has been applied for, she
Results will be made known on Oct. 15, 2004, said Rusnak. Rusnak had
also written two proposals for grants the city received for the 1880s
Presbyterian Church, located behind the Oldham County History Center.
The Glen is in need of a good cleanup, but we cant do anything
until we get the grant, said Carter. It has even been suggested
that The Glen be incorporated into the Greenways walk-bike trail, another
ongoing preservation project in Oldham County. Carter said it has been
proposed that Hwy. 53 be the corridor between the back-to-nature trail
leading into the park and the Greenways project.
Rusnak said those involved hope the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will
volunteer to assist with cleanup efforts. The Glen is a beautiful area,
Rusnak said, and we forget how beautiful an area it really is.
Haselton said the Parks Board is negotiating to acquire a parcel of
land next to The Glen in the Greenwood Commons subdivision. The Glen
is bordered by three to five acres of undeveloped land that cannot be
developed. Parks board members hope to acquire this land in exchange
for maintaining this area that is not currently being maintained.
This is a project that will be completed in phases, said Haselton. He
is confident that an architectural planning firm will be used. The
Oldham County Parks System is second to none, said Haselton.
Back to October 2004