In a meeting lasting more than three hours, the McCreary County Park Board finalized additional recommendations for spending contingency money previously set aside to pay for possible litigation. With the potential legal issues resolved, that funding has been released back to the Park budget. The Park Board is now in the process of making recommendations for improvements at the McCreary County Park using that funding; with the stipulation that Fiscal Court must approve all purchases.
Members of the Board agreed in their August meeting to present four requests to Fiscal Court during the next Court meeting scheduled for August 11. Recommendations include the construction of two outdoor basketball courts at an approximate cost of $50,000 (including fencing and bleachers), playground equipment at approximately $28,000, a popcorn machine for community events, and a McCreary County Park sign for the main entrance to the park.
Starting off with approximately $200,000, the contingency fund has already covered approximately $110,000 worth of park improvements including half of the cost of a splash pad, lighting for baseball fields, a mower, and construction of additional camp sites at the Sand Hill RV camp.
If all four requests are approved, the Board will consider requesting the remaining funds, approximately $12,000, be used for the resurfacing of the walking track.
The Park Board did deny one request for payment of routine maintenance items (lightbulbs, paint, garbage cans, etc.) to be paid for out of the contingency money. Viewing the list of items as “operational” in nature, the Board agreed to forward the items to Fiscal Court to be paid for out of the County’s budget for operation of the park.
At this point in the meeting, some Board Members expressed concern over the status of the Park/Sand Hill Camp rental money. The rental money is deposited and reflected in the County’s budget for the park and is loosely designated for park projects.
When questioned Friday about the Park budget (specifically rental fees), Judge Executive Stephens and Finance Officer Randy Jones explained the money designated in the County budget for the park comes from several sources including park rental fees, concessions, donations, etc. The bulk of the money budgeted for the park is deposited from the General Fund throughout the year as available and as needed. Although park rental fees in the County’s budget are earmarked for park projects, Stephens acknowledged operational bills for the park may sometimes be paid from the rental money with the awareness that “replacement” money is forthcoming or available in another part of the budget. Stephens highlighted some of the park bills paid for through the County’s budget including a monthly payment of $4,166 to RECC for a Rural Economic Development loan acquired to finish construction of the park building and monthly electric bills ranging from $700 to $1,000. Stephens noted two magistrates sit on the Park Board and have access to all of the budget information.
Park Board members also had an animated discussion concerning a previously agreed upon item of business. Although the Park Board voted in a prior meeting to locate the splash pad near the large shelter to the right of the Senior Citizens building instead of placing it behind the building along with other activities for children, some Park Board members expressed lingering doubts about the suitability of the location.
More than one member expressed concern the large shelter, with a splash pad in close proximity, would be less accessible for other events including musical performances and those wishing to use/rent the shelter for functions. Some expressed the benefit of having a defined children’s area in the back of the building, citing convenience for children and adults along with ease of supervision. Despite much discussion, members of the Park Board did not call for another vote on the location of the splash pad. At this time, it is unclear when installation of the splash pad will begin.
The McCreary County Park Board’s regular monthly meeting is at 5:30 on the first Monday of each month at the Park. The date/time is subject to change due to holidays.