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Glasgow Pool, Tennis Courts on hold

Parks & Recreation Director Eddie Furlong, standing, and Councilman Freddie Norris. Photo by Cherie Vaughan, JPI

Baseball not certain
Push for Farmer’s Mkt.

Chelene Nightingale
Jobe Publishing, Inc.

Glasgow Parks and Recreation Committee held a special meeting on Tuesday, January 31. The meeting was called to discuss Richardson Stadium, the Farmer’s Market, the American Legion swimming pool, the Glasgow Athletic program and other park updates.

In attendance were Parks Director Eddie Furlong, Joint City-County Planning Committee Chairman Tommy Gumm, Mayor Royse, City Council Members – Chasity Lowery, Patrick Gaunce, Freddie Norris and Terry Bunnell. Guests included Glasgow Independent Schools Superintendent Chad Muhlenkamp, Coach Kyle Boston, Coach Matt Bowles, Barren County Parks Director Chris Jennings, GAO Board of Director Cindy Green, GAP Volunteer Corey Jackson, Farmer Robert Siddens and Sustainable Glasgow Executive Director Brandi Button.

The over two hour meeting began with the disclosure that Glasgow Athletics Program will collaborate with Barren County Parks & Recreation for baseball beginning this upcoming season. Corey Jackson indulged that Judge/Executive Jamie Bewley-Byrd approached him with the idea of combining the leagues to unite the community and benefit children with a stronger program, Cindy Green admitted to a decrease in the registrations for the GAP baseball league. However, she noted their basketball and football leagues were very strong with over 150 participants. Patrick Gaunce asked about combining all the sports programs together in the future, however Chris Jennings noted GAP’s soccer league, in addition to football and basketball, were very strong and provided children more opportunity to play sports. He also stated, “We will be working with Glasgow Parks to schedule leagues so they don’t conflict with Barren leagues in order to provide children with the ability to play all sports.”

Seven months ago an electrical issue caused a fire at Richardson Stadium in Gorin Park. The stadium was home to the Glasgow Scottie’s Baseball Teams. Since Chasity Lowery is a staff member at Glasgow Middle School, she politely recused herself from the discussion of this matter. Although the first Scottie’s home game is scheduled for Saturday, March 18, the stadium is not ready at this time. Terry Bunnell declared, “We need to get the kids on the field, so we need fencing started today, then work on electric, then complete the lease with the school board.”

Two different options were presented during the meeting for the repair of Richardson Stadium. David Pedigo, owner of Superior Fencing, provided the city with an estimate of $56,135 for a complete new system however installation would cost extra. Mayor Royse asked how long it would take for the project to complete. Kyle Boston stated the project would take approximately 2-4 weeks, however the padding associated with the new backstop had a 10-12 week estimated delivery date. A concerned Mayor Royse replied, “Is it possible the delivery could take longer than 12 weeks?” Coach Boston answered affirmatively for which Royse replied, “Then were gambling on the field being ready for the kids to play.” The second option would cost $15,760 for a temporary fix utilizing the existing wall. This option provides electrical repair and fencing but without padding. Nearly an hour was spent on discussing the two options. At one point Coach Bowles wondered if Glasgow Schools could help with costs. After several minutes it was agreed between Muhlenkamp and the three city council members to draw up an agreement for both sides to review. Bunnell suggested Glasgow schools pay $5000 for exclusive rights to lease the fields for the entire season. The agreement would put the obligation of repairs and electric on the city, but supplies and maintenance on the schools. Gaunce disagreed with the cost and suggested a lease of $2500 per month; “We need hard numbers – the cost of electric before we make a final decision.” Lowery added, “We want to get the kids playing, but we need to be good stewards of money, too.”

The meeting continued with Eddie Furlong providing overall park updates. He mentioned the age of all the parks and the need for updates. Gorin Park was established in the 1950s, Weldon Park in the 1960’s, American Legion in 1975 and Beaver Creek in 1998. Gaunce admitted, “The parks are 20-30 years behind in every aspect.” Furlong agreed and shared that finally the restrooms were receiving a complete remodel with construction starting this week. The cost for each restroom now is $132,000, but only 4 years ago the cost was $50,000.

In addition to new restrooms, cameras with facial recognition have been installed at the parks. Gorin Park will receive new fencing, new shelter and playground. Weldon Park will also receive news shelter and lighting. Beaver Creek’s new playground should be complete by mid-March. Besides the playground, the walking trail will be widened. Eddie also announced that Entertainment Glasgow will be back at Beaver Creek Park for their summer concerts. He hoped that all these park projects would be complete by the end of April.

Regarding the American Legion Park tennis courts and city swimming pool, the committee agreed to hold off for another summer season. Instead the city will hire a consultant for $20,000 to examine the property. It was mentioned during the discussion that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were set aside for a future pool. The committee hoped to have a solid plan in place before the end of the summer in order to have a new pool ready for summer 2024.

The final agenda of the evening was a discussion of the Farmer’s Market and downtown park. Brandi Button declared that the need for the proposed project was backed by research and farmers’ input, although she did not cite the research or a list of farmers during the meeting. She added that Barren County was the number one county for family farmers. “We need to help them continue here, provide them with a direct sales location.” She further shared, “I love the ambiance of the Square, but its not accessible.” The mayor chimed in: “Many times I went down to the market and it was difficult to find parking space; which tells you the need is there.” Brandi added that Sustainable Glasgow was about promoting the quality of life in the community.

All in attendance received a one-sheet with bullet points from Gaunce for the new market/park. According to the list, the project was endorsed by Economic Develop and the Chamber of Commerce. Allegedly $750,000 in private donations have been pledged. One of the points claimed a $300,000 – $500,000 potential savings if the park started construction along with the new Judicial Center. According to the paper, the project is estimated at $2,000,000.

During the meeting it was confirmed the conversation for the usage of the land had been ongoing for 4 ½ years. Over time the ideas have changed from an amphitheater and water park to a slab of concrete with a roof and no sound stage. Since the Farmer’s Market is active on Saturdays for half the year, Barren County Progress inquired if the space would generate any other business into the local economy. Button suggested that Entertainment Glasgow, SOMA Dance and the local schools could host events. Lowery added that they definitely needed further conversation. Mayor Royse stated, “We have a responsibility to maintain our current parks, so we need to factor in the costs of maintaining this one.”

All in attendance agreed for the need of unity and a strong downtown. Furthermore, all agreed there needed to be better communication and quicker resolutions. Perhaps what is needed is a city initiative to be added to the November ballot for residents to vote on what they want downtown.

From left, Joint City-County Planning Committee Chairman Tommy Gumm, Sustainable Glasgow Executive Director Brandi Button (standing), Glasgow Mayor Henry Royse, and Councilman Patrick Gaunce. Photo by Chelene Nightingale

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