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Parks board has mission, vision for future

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By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - Before the Bullitt County Parks Board can move forward, it must decide where it wants to go.

    But with its mission and vision in place, board members are ready to ask for a serious commitment from Bullitt Fiscal Court.

    At a special meeting Monday, board members approved the mission statement of the parks department.

    The mission of the department will be to develop, administer and maintain a parks and recreation program that inspires healthy lifestyles, instills community pride and promotes tourism while serving the needs of Bullitt County residents.

    Board members unanimously approved the mission statement but had a few discussions on the vision.

    Chairman Steve Larimore said he felt the vision statement needed to include goals without timelines.

    The vision statement said that the county wanted a “regionally recognized parks and recreation system that meets the recreation and exercise needs of county residents.”

    Board member Terry Price said he agreed that the 10 items listed under the vision statement would help to keep focus on what needs to be done.

    Larimore said many of the goals are long-term but they needed to be mentioned.

    The goals of the vision statement included items such as expanding the parks and recreation system and developing green spaces.

    Larimore, who served as the county parks director in the 1980s, said his vision included doing more than sports for those 18 and under. But Bullitt Fiscal Court would have to buy into the recommendations.

    More immediate needs would include making a job description for parks employees.

    He envisioned a maintenance person who would work nine months each year for the parks department.

    He also said a job description was needed for a full-time parks director. Some of the goals would include the ability to write grants, build partnerships and implement the vision.

    At the same time, Larimore said the parks board should be the buffer between the director and fiscal court.

    Another project the board will pursue quickly is a procedure on how people can donate land to the county. Larimore said since stories ran in the media, at least one property owner was interested in making a donation.

    Plus, grant opportunities are available.

    At the same time, Larimore inquired whether the county had a list of all the property it owns. He felt the county probably had more land than it realized.

    And Price said the county must be willing to maintain the property if it is donated.

    Larimore would also like to look at the existing partnerships with the local schools to see if public usage of the facilities could be enhanced.

    Although the board has been pretty much in agreement on various issues since reforming this spring, Larimore’s suggestion to expand the parks board to include all eight municipalities and other agencies, such as the YMCA, was not unilaterally blessed.

    Price said he would be concerned if the board got too large whether things could be accomplished.

    Larimore said he was looking for more participation and more people to serve on committees to assist on doing some of the work.

    On Tuesday, July 6, Larimore plans to address Bullitt Fiscal Court.

    On topic he plans to address will deal with finances.

    With only two full-time employees on the parks payroll, Larimore said he will be seeking support from the court members to keep the other $120,000 budgeted on salaries set aside for future parks uses.

    If the county leaders don’t wish to utilize the money to maintain the green space it hopes to acquire, Larimore said the board should not pursue getting any land.

    The other point of discussion Tuesday will be to announce that the July 15 parks board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the courthouse. Larimore said the goal is to get public comment on a possible recommendation to have the Bullitt County YMCA manage all the programs for the parks department.

    He said the parks department would continue to be in charge but the YMCA would manage the programs, such as basketball and baseball.

    An advisory board would be set up and acting parks director Ed Etherton would serve on that committee.

    When the initial public meetings were held on a possible YMCA operation of the parks program, the main concerns came from the youth basketball coaches.

    Larimore said the YMCA management of the swimming pools has seemed to be going well and the county couldn’t continue to lose $350,000 annually in parks and recreation.

    YMCA executive director June Daugherty said the pools have done well so far this summer.

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Parks Board Mission Statement:

Mission: Develop, administer and maintain a parks and recreation program that inspires healthy lifestyles, instills community pride and promotes tourism while serving the needs of Bullitt County residents.

Vision: A regionally recognized parks and recreation system that meets the recreation and exercise needs of county residents

    *Expand the park and recreation system

    *Develop a system of greenways, hike and linkages that connect the parks, schools, playgrounds, neighborhoods and green spaces throughout the county

    *Upgrade facilities in existing parks and provide new and improved facilities that will enhance the function and park experience

    *Develop and maintain a high level of cooperation and coordination between the parks and recreation department, athletic organizations, schools, private industry, cities and the county and other organizations to maximize the use and cost effectiveness of operating facilities and programs to serve the residents

    *Provide facilities and programs to enable residents to become more physically fit (trails and linkages to allow more walking, biking and running, equine facilities and equestrian trails, indoor fitness facilities and programs, athletic facilities and programs)

    *Provide outstanding athletic fields and complexes to support a growing participating in a wide variety of youth sports (improve existing fields, additional game and practice fields, and the replacement of fields that may have become unavailable due to school expansion or loss of borrowed space. The vision also includes facilities for adult senior athletics.)

    *Provide facilities to support expanded programming (an outdoor amphitheater for arts, movies, concerts and other cultural arts programming; indoor courts to allow basketball, volleyball and other athletic programs; indoor multi-purpose rooms for gymnastics, dance, martial arts and other active programs; a new outdoor family aquatic center in the western portion of the county; partner in the development of an indoor aquatic facility to support swimming for recreation, competition and fitness.)

    *Continue management relationships with the YMCA to ensure maximum participation and capture fiscal efficiencies wherever possible

    *Pursue partnerships to maximize funding to support county objectives (indoor aquatic facility, indoor athletic facilities, equine facilities, trails and linkages)