SHEPHERDSVILLE - I have a dream. What I like to think of as ‘Farner Dreams.’
OK, I have lots of dreams. If you sleep a lot, then you have a lot of dreams. Nobody enjoys ‘resting their eyes’ more than me.
Still, after 32 years of doing this job, my eyes are wide open when it comes to seeing what Bullitt County needs in terms of sports and recreation facilities in our community. At this point, there are varying levels and success stories for what is already present.
Just in the past few years the addition of Heritage Hill Golf Course has filled a gapping hole in the local landscape. However, at the same time, access to youth league fields and swimming opportunities have shrunk.
Without a doubt, the number one need is a master blueprint of where we need to go and how to get there. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist in any community, even one with a ‘sports authority’ and it won’t happen here. As is pretty much always the case, it will be a hit and miss proposition. You just have to take your victories wherever you can find them.
In addition, I’m well aware that these are tough financial times. A wish list is one thing. Getting it done is another thing all together. Most, but not all, of these ‘Farner Dreams’ will have to be accomplished with some type of government assistance through tax money, be it through the school system or local governments. The last time I checked, those groups are not flush with cash to cover everyday expenses, much less adding infrastructure.
As I’ve said before, local governments and school systems should all consider sports and recreation as part of their jobs. The only debate is the percentage of our resources to be dedicated to such things.
Still, at some point even the ‘extras’ need to become the ‘basics’ for Bullitt County to become a more healthy and vibrant community that we can all be proud of and happy to live in.
Already, the next round of county-wide elections seem to indicate that we’ll have a healthy debate on the role of ‘recreation’ in our community.
These ‘Farner Dreams’ are not ranked by importance or any possibility of being accomplished. Just a wonderful wish list for a community to ponder.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one with dreams along this line of thinking. Everyone is welcome to jot down what they feel would be important within the sports and recreation community. You can email those thoughts to me at www.pioneernews.net or mail at P.O. Box 98, Shepherdsville, Ky. 40165. We’ll see what response we get and print those later in the summer.
Swimming pools, or the lack of swimming pools, have been in the headlines in Bullitt County this summer and with good reason. Only one swimming pool is open as of this week while three sit idle. That is not a good thing, for both swimmers and the lack of summer job opportunities.
Now, we are debating the lack of swimming for two months in the summer. Heck, even under the best of times we don’t have swimming opportunities ten months out of the year.
The swimming situation in Bullitt County has been under discussion for a long time. There are those that feel that four small, outdoor, limited use pools are best for the community. There are also those that think that one large, centrally-located, indoor facility would be best.
While neither one of those lines of thinking is wrong, it certainly brings up the one point that seems to be an anchor to getting things done in this community. Unlike other communities in our area, like Nelson County and Shelby County, which have one ‘hub’ city to concentrate facilities around, Bullitt County has three distinct large cities (Shepherdsville, Mount Washington and Hillview) and some smaller ones that want to be heard (Lebanon Junction and Nichols).
If the one mega-pool idea ever did get traction in Bullitt County, I can just imagine the battles between the communities as to where it would be located and the hurt feelings of those not selected. What might be good for the whole community, would not be viewed positively by all.
Still, a year-round, indoor swimming facility would be a wonderful addition to Bullitt County. What would be even better would be to make it a centerpiece to a huge parks and recreation facility. I look around with envy each and every time I cover an event in Shelbyville at Clear Creek Park with its indoor swimming pool and recreation center as well as baseball and softball fields as far as the eye can see along with picnic facilities and even a golf course and fishing possibilities.
The Bullitt County high schools have worked together to add swimming programs over the past three years and have had some success. Still, those teams have to travel into Louisville to practice and compete at the University of Louisville, but lane time is very limited and expensive.
This ‘Farner Dream’ is a lot bigger than putting a bubble over one of the existing pools. Too many times this community has tried to take the cheapest or easiest way out instead of doing it right the first time.
Two High School Gyms
If given one wish from Aladdin, I have no doubt that the three high school athletic directors would pick having a second gym as being that wish.
For the past four years, Bullitt County teams have been competing in Jefferson County in the Sixth Region. Just about every public school in the Sixth Region not located in Bullitt County has a second or auxiliary gym.
Some of the gyms are nothing more than a basketball court. Others, like at Fairdale, the second gym is large enough and has enough seating to host basketball games like happens in the King of the Bluegrass Tournament where two games go on at the same time.
Scheduling winter events at the area high schools is a huge headache with three basketball teams for both the boys’ and the girls’ programs. Add in wrestling teams, archery practice and cheerleading squads, along with any other school event, and gym time is precious with only one gym.
You don’t need much of an imagination to consider the demands on the gym at Bullitt East last December when the football team was still in the play-offs (and bad weather made outdoor practice difficult) while the basketball teams were opening their seasons.
In-season, some basketball teams have been practicing at 8 or 9 p.m. on school nights.
We’re not talking about a second 2,500-seat gym. Just something big enough to host a wrestling meet or a freshman basketball game.
Part Two: Check next week for more ‘Farner Dreams’ about tennis, baseball and softball.
Over the next few weeks, everyone is welcome to submit some of their own dreams. I’ll collect those and publish them later this summer.
You can submit your dreams by sending off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can do it the old way and mail it to The Pioneer News, P.O. Box 98, Shepherdsville, Kentucky 40165.
In addition, anyone who can provide any concrete plans on how we could finance some of these dreams can contact me also.