When parks and recreation is discussed in Bullitt County - which is pretty seldom - there are often more questions than answers.
Now, in the first year of a management agreement with the Bullitt County YMCA, the operation of the programs has been fine.
However, there are questions about various issues.
First, the Bullitt County Parks Board has not met since early this summer after being informed by county attorney Monica Meredith Robinson that the original body was set up by resolution and not an ordinance.
That group, which is made up of county appointees and school system appointees, was called back to duty when pool issues struck two years ago.
The board was set up to provide goals for the parks and recreation system operated and funded by the county government.
Since its revival, the parks board has been active in working with the YMCA in the operation of the pools and then all the recreational programs.
It had started to look for green space that would be available to expand walking trails throughout the county.
It allowed for a splash park to be installed in Lebanon Junction and it will be open for business next spring.
The first question is how this unpaid, volunteer advisory board will be set up under the new ordinance to be considered by Bullitt Fiscal Court.
Second, the county contracted with the YMCA to runs the pools last year. It provided a subsidy of over $40,000 to offset losses incurred that summer.
Now, in the first year of total management by the YMCA, the deficit of providing recreational programs is again sitting at around $40,000.
It would be impossible to ask the agency to continue to take such a financial hit each year. And, the YMCA board probably wouldn’t allow it to happen.
Third, is there any vision by county leaders on the future of the parks and recreation department?
So many times we hear that Bullitt County is one of the fastest growing counties with jobs still pouring into the community.
But how often do we hear our leaders talk about expanding the current recreational facilities?
Bullitt County is blessed to have a facility like Bernheim Forest. But that is also a curse. We think parks and people might automatically say, “Well, we have Bernheim Forest, what else do we need?”
The cities have worked hard to expand their offerings but it is time for the county leaders to sit down and do a little soul searching.
Is it best to subsidize the YMCA and let that agency run your programs or, in the long run, will it be best to revamp the entire way you look at your parks and recreation program?