EKY communities look to build on recent park grants

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Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 4:55 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Some Eastern Kentucky parks are going to benefit from Land and Water Conservation funding.

Seven communities received around $800,000 of the $3.9 million statewide Land and Water Conservation grant.

“Any time that you’re able to improve your parks and recreation, it is bringing tourism. Any time you bring in tourism, you’re actually improving your economy,” said Jennifer McIntosh, an Associate Director of Community & Economic Development for the Kentucky River Area Development District.

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The Perry County Fiscal Court received $150,000 to build a small park in Viper, an initiative pushed by the community.

“Their vision was to have a small playground with a basketball court, and maybe a picnic shelter or something with picnic tables,” Perry County Grants Coordinator Angie Hall said.

Jackson Parks and Recreation received $50,000 to replace two playground sets at Douthitt Park that are 20 years old and were caked in mud after the July 2022 flood.

“They’ve seen I’m not sure how many floods. Two major floods, but probably eight small floods, and it’s definitely time to replace these two pieces of equipment for our community, for our kids,” Jackson Parks & Recreation Director Brittany Little said.

Grants are vital in keeping the park in good shape after the flood.

“Flooding disasters have really hit the city hard. We’ve had to come up with a lot of money to make repairs. So, that of course, in your budget, makes less money for improvement or things of that nature,” Brittany Little said.

The process of building parks can take some time as plans are approved on a state and national level.

“Once you’re approved for Land and Water Conversation funds at the state level, then the application gets sent up to the national park system in Washington for them to do a review and final approval of it,” Angie Hall said.

Jackson Parks & Recreation Director Brittany Little also said the Douthitt Park basketball courts will be getting repaved as part of past grants.