Oldham County Sports Park

Proposed recreation area could offer
‘much-needed’ practice space

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BUCKNER, Ky. (March 2006) – Oldham County is constantly expanding its horizons. This is evident in the growing park system, which may soon add a sports park to its list of recreational options.

OC Sports Park Map

Graphic by Darrel Taylor

The proposed park
would be located in Buckner.

Many feel that in a county with a swelling population, more practice areas are needed for youth leagues. Such a venue for all ages to enjoy is needed close to home. County officials are considering options to convert 54-acres in Buckner into a sports park. The land in question lies off of Hwy. 393 across from Wendell Moore Park.
This latest addition to the park system would lie between Oldham County High School’s athletic fields and the Oldham County Country Club. Judge-Executive Mary Ellen Kinser labeled this project a “multi-use, county owned park.”
Nothing presently occupies this space that is leased from the Kentucky State Reformatory. “The land was farmed for a long time by the State Reformatory,” said Oldham County Parks and Recreation Director Tim Curtis. The land will continue to be leased from this entity, said Kinser.
Kinser said amenities would include baseball, soccer and softball fields in addition to walking trails, a cross-country course, playgrounds and picnic areas. The acreage contains a pond for educational purposes. A shelter with restrooms and concessions is also purposed, said Kinser.
Brandstetter Carroll Inc. is the firm responsible for creating the preliminary conceptual plans. Brandstetter Carroll presented several options for this project before Fiscal Court on Jan. 3 and a public meeting was held on Jan. 25 at the John W. Black Community Center to seek public input.
Patrick D. Hoagland, principal with Brandstetter Carroll, said that most in attendance favored a plan that included three multi-use fields on the north side with additional fields on lower terraced levels, basketball courts, three baseball fields and 2.5 miles of walking paths. Three parking areas and a road would be built through this area from Hwy. 393. Changes can still be made to the plan.
“There will be large open fields, but a variety of areas and terrain to work with,” said Hoagland. The resulting passive-active area will have a “community park atmosphere.”
Hoagland stressed the idea that this park would be for all sports. He pointed out a growing interest in lacrosse and said certain areas were “great for environmental education.”

OC Sports Park Concept

Oldham County Sports Park Concept

The firm is also developing a master plan for the 227-acre Morgan Conservation Park, a second proposed park for Oldham County. Together, these two parks would add nearly 300 acres to the county’s park system. In recent years, Oldham County has exhibited a growing interest in conserving greenspace for recreational purposes.
Because Brandstetter Carroll is well known for their park projects, they were “contracted to draft an evaluation of what we could do,” said Kinser. A selection committee chose the firm based on price, experience and quality of work. They also designed a similar project, the Danville Millennium Park.
Community input was also sought at a public meeting held in September 2005. Curtis said, “This project has been in the works for awhile.”
Within Oldham County, “A lot of people compete for a lot of space,” said Curtis. In addition to game space, extra space is needed for teams to practice upon. As the county population grows, these groups will also continue to grow in size.
“The continued fast growth of the county is really putting a strain on our current facilities dedicated to all youth sports,” said Steve Bryant, president of the Oldham County Youth Soccer Association. With a lot of families moving into the county, “one of the amenities that is expected is a facility for youth sports. We need to keep up with the demand and expectations.”
Bryant is a member of GreenFields, a group of community leaders and parents whose children play in youth sports in the county. GreenFields wants to be a public-private partner in developing this sports park. Its goal is to provide access to shared resources such as grants, donations and gifts.
Tim Kollenberg, vice president of the Oldham County Youth Football League, said a sports park “gives the opportunity to bring the community together and bring in sports events.” Last year’s Derby Cup, a youth soccer event, added an estimated $225,000 to the county’s economy. “It would bring recognition to the county,” he said.
GreenField members would also like to see the 54-acres combined with the nearby Oldham County Youth Soccer Complex to form one large multi-sports complex.
Kollenberg considers this project a benefit to the school system. Depending upon the sport being played, teams currently have to practice at area elementary schools and prime real estate that is for sale. A growing concern is the “need for a patch of grass,” said Kollenberg.
Fiscal Court has not set aside any funds for this project, said Kinser. Grant possibilities are being considered. Input must also be sought from county departments such as the county’s road department, to establish what the department is and is not able to do.
“A lot of people in the community are begging for additional recreational sports fields,” said Kinser. “Our goal is to start construction this spring and open as soon as weather allows.”

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