Oldham County has purchased land
to expand Westport Park
Land acquisition will make room for a future pavilion
WESTPORT, Ky. (August 2017) – Westport Park in Oldham County, Ky., is expanding. Originally, the park at 6617 Main St., in Westport, Ky., was three acres. It is now approximately eight acres after the acquisition of the University of Louisville research center and Schamback properties. The expansion will benefit tourists and citizens of Oldham County, county officials say.
Judge-Executive David Voegele, an advocate for parks, has been instrumental in the growth of Westport Park. He is a believer in the benefits of recreational activities for the citizens of Oldham County and has taken a vital role in the expansion of Westport Park.
The new land acquisitions will provide space for a future pavilion and improved recreational access to the Ohio River. The additional greenspace will be used for picnic areas and potentially a venue for music and festivals. The improved parking will benefit boaters and park visitors. Also in the works is a river walk and bank retention wall to improve river access and prevent bank erosion.
Photo courtesy of Tim Curtis
The amenities at Westport Park in Oldham County are growing with the recent expansion of the facility. Newly purchased land has increased the park’s size from three acres to eight.
Improvements have already begun with the removal of structures that were previously on the property. Plus, renovations to the existing picnic shelter and playground have changed the appearance of the park. A new boat ramp has opened for canoe and kayak use, thus allowing the park to enter the adventure tourism market.
“This off-the-beaten-path town is the up and coming hip place to be,” Nachtman said.
To try a backwoods adventure, just travel to Westport Park where Canoe and Kayak rental is available on weekends through the Blue Moon Canoe & Kayak rental company. Not sure you are up to such a venture? No worries because they will be offering classes in paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.
“We are excited about the expansion, and the company is slowly but surely building momentum,” said Blue Moon’s Scooter Thompson. “The one thing we never have to worry about is having enough water at Westport Park.”
Westport Park is part of the Kentucky Scenic Waterways. He also noted that Explore Kentucky’s Waterman Series is adding Westport Park as a September race site. The date is to be announced.
Recent and future improvements will provide visitors a more park-like experience, maximizing the beautiful setting and outstanding vistas along the riverbank. The improvements are being phased in according to a long-term plan. The initial priorities of the plan are bank retention and to decrease debris that currently comes ashore during high water events.
The long-term planning and attraction of tourists have the potential to positively impact the local economy, officials say. One Westport business, Knock-On-Wood Country Mercantile and Café should see more traffic as more people visit the park. Owner Lea Nachtman sees the park expansion and beautification projects as offering great potential. “I am glad a light is being shined on the gem of Oldham County,” she said.
Nachtman welcomes park visitors to join Knock-On-Wood for Pickin’ On The Porch the last Saturday of the month from August through September from 6-9 p.m. Just bring a chair and bring a friend to 7001 Main St. and join in the fun. It is a great chance to visit the newly expanded park.
Meantime, a Snack Shack has opened on the weekends by the Westport Fire Department in the garage on the former U of L property. A pavilion is tentatively planned to be located on the high ground across from the Snack Shack overlooking the Ohio River.
Visitors to Westport Park can enjoy the picnic shelter, playground, basketball court, two docks plus the public boat ramp. The improved facilities and green space can be used for receptions and events with better parking and flow for boaters and regular cars. Also part of the long-term plan is a band shell and natural performance venue. The plan is being phased in based upon priorities, officials say.
The park offers something for all ages: water activities, fishing, picnics, sporting events (annual 5K in July) and entertainment. The first live music event will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. “Rockin’ on the River” will feature the band Loose Change. This is a La Grange, Ky.-based band that primarily plays classic rock and country from the ’60s and ’70s.
“Westport is a beautiful town with local historical and cultural significance,” said Oldham County Parks & Recreation Department Director Tim Curtis.
Westport Park’s expansion is not only improving and adding amenities; it will also have a new name. Westport Park will become Schamback Park at Westport.
Back to August 2017 Articles.