Making Progress

Workers break ground on city's
future La Grange Springs Park

Phase I of the new park to be completed by spring 2022

LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2021) – Plans for the La Grange (Ky.) Springs Park recently kicked into high gear when a groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 28, turning a dream into a reality. The beginning of phase one brings with it the fruition of a long-awaited desire for many in the community.
This first phase, consisting of the area along Main Street and Second Avenue, will contain a “plaza, splash pad, playground, pavilion for the Farmers’ Market and landscaping,” said City Council member Joe Davenport, who is the chairman of the La Grange City Park Commission. The pavilion will contain restrooms and be available for year-round use.
Davenport said organizers hope to see the park completed by next spring. “They’re moving right along with it.” Phase I is the most expensive phase, carrying a price tag of $4.5 million, said La Grange Mayor John Black.

La Grange Spring Park

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

A bulldozer is parked at the construction site of the future
La Grange Springs Park, where workers are pushing ahead with Phase I of the city project.

Phase I is being paid for by $1.5 million to $2 million in reserves and the rest in bonds financed for 15 to 20 years.
In July the La Grange City Council voted to hire Calhoun Construction Services to handle the Phase I work. Bids were let out, and when it was time to vote, the vote for Calhoun was unanimous. “We looked at the businesses past experience and price, and if they’d done parks in the past,” said Davenport.
Two additional phases of the park will include an amphitheater, skating area, trail, picnic area, parking lot and roads into and out of the park. The proposed multi-use park is comprised of seven acres, incorporating several city-owned properties, including a former skate park, city public parking lot and a spring.
The project is well under way, said Black, with Calhoun having “made huge strides in the first week. Once built, it will be a great downtown park.”
Black said it will provide “economic opportunities and bring a mix of people to our downtown. It is part of the strategic plan for the downtown area. It’s a long-term idea that hopefully many generations will enjoy.”
A pre-existing skate park on the site has been the subject of much debate as to whether it would have to be moved or done away with completely. Davenport said it is a much-needed feature of the new park. The city-owned skate park was dismantled prior to the beginning of construction.
Original plans for La Grange Springs Park had placed it where the pavilion is now going to be constructed. It will still be in the park, but it will have to be relocated, he said.
“We want the skate park back,” Davenport said.
But the La Grange Springs Parks Committee is having a hard time “finding any place to put it.” Original plans called for the installation of a skate area in Phase II, but the organizing committee has said it hopes it will be tagged onto the end of Phase I.
“We’re thinking that we may move into the second phase sooner,” said Black. The committee is considering different design options for Phase II and Phase III, and will definitely work in the skateboard area in conjunction with the amphitheater. There is also an interest in placing artwork in the plaza, he said.

La Grange Skate Park

Photo by Don Ward

The La Grange Skate Park had to be dismantled to make way for the new park.

“The skate park has become a highly used feature in our downtown by the local skate community,” said Ann Zimlich, chairperson of La Grange Springs Park Committee. “The park committee hated to remove it before a replacement could be built, but it was necessary to start Phase I. Mayor Black has made it a priority to get the new and improved skate park built as soon as possible.”
The Farmer’s Market pavilion would look similar to the old Louisville and Interurban Trolley Station that once sat at the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street. The architectural style for the pavilion “is being replicated in the older brick style,” said Black. “It will tie it to the town’s history.”
Zimlich said the committee is applying for a $250,000 grant to be used for the Farmers’ Market pavilion and presented it to the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund board the week of Sept. 13. “We will know in October if it is approved.”
Donations to this project can be made in a variety of ways. General park support can be made in the $25 to $1,000 range. Donations can be made from $500 to $2,500 for Art Installations.
“We currently have an open call out to artists for a mural on the restroom building and a large sculpture to go in the entry plaza at Second and Main Street,” Zimlich said. ”The request for proposal for the art will be up on the website for anyone interested.”
A donation of $5,000 will place a bench at the park. “The bench will be by Scot Kellersberg, and donors will be acknowledged with a small plaque on the bench,” she said.
For right now, “we’re taking it one phase at a time,” said Davenport.

• To view graphics of the park, go to www.lagrangemainstreet.org and click on the heading
“La Grange Springs Park” at the top of the page.

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