Casey's Gateway Park will be run by new board

March 24, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - A new board of directors to oversee Gate Way Park activities was introduced during a public forum held Tuesday night to clear up "confusion people may have" about park changes and to discuss future plans.

The Rev. Thomas Clark said the new board will represent all of Casey County and he wants all residents to use the park.

He said the park is not closing and the Catholic church is not taking over the park.

"We're not interested in taking over, but we want it run right. The new board will see (that) it will be run the best it can be for all ages."

He said Gate Way Park and Sacred Heart and St. Bernard Catholic Church are two separate groups and a park director will be accountable to the board.


"It is our vision to recreate and recapture the spirit we had here in 1981 (when the park was established) and to have it represent the entire community," said Clark. "We hope the city and county governments will help."

The 20-year lease between the Archdiocese in Louisville and Casey Fiscal Court expired in 2003. People in the church reviewed the lease and decided not to renew it without some changes, Clark said. The Fiscal Court did not go along with the changes, so the lease was terminated.

Frank Tomero, who is acting as interim park director, expressed appreciation to people who have worked with the park and invited everyone to get involved by volunteering their time to help out at the park and to serve on the board. He said the park needs a director but can run on volunteer labor.

He wants to have an after-school program where young people can socialize and feel safe. He also wants the park to be more available for senior adults. Civic organizations can use the park without a charge.

"We've worked out an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce to use the offices at the park free of charge, and the chamber will help with fund drives and publicity," Tomero said.

One of the things to be addressed is that restrooms have been closed during events. Sharon Johnson said the restrooms were closed due to vandalism, which has been a problem for years.

"We need to make people aware that this is their park, and if vandalism occurs, we will have to deal with it. Vandalism will not be tolerated," Tomero said.

Cathy Goode suggested installing closed circuit televisions in the restrooms.

Tomero said a schedule of park hours is being made and a way to keep vandals out when the park is closed is being explored. More lighting was suggested in some of the darker areas.

Tom Ellis said it would help if someone checked on the park at various times.

Johnson said local police have helped. It was also suggested to ask constables to help with park patrol.

A number of fund-raisers were suggested, including holding an aluminum can drive and having a steel and metal pickup for old farm machinery and junk vehicles to raise money to set up a trust fund for the future of the park. Tony Hull said this can be accomplished if the park can get someone to help on a 50-50 basis. Another suggestion was to hold a flea market.

The board of directors will operate like the old board, under Gate Way Park Inc., and plans are to have some of the former board members on the new board.

Board members introduced were Gina Smith, Sam Smith, Mark Hayes, Mike Luttrell, Dave Smith, Cathy Goode, Tom Ellis, Mark Wethington and Tomero.

Several other people, including local ministers, have been asked to sit on the board which could meet quarterly rather than monthly.

A youth advisory board to help with ideas for activities also was suggested. Johnson and Goode will ask the middle and high school student councils for suggestions.

Johnny Johnson said baseball has helped fund events at the park for the past several years.

His wife, Sharon, asked about the financial accounts that support the baseball programs. "Where is the money coming from at this point and how do you plan to spend it?" she asked.

Tomero said there is $12,000 in the fund now, but it will take $50,000 annually to operate the park. He said when the old Gate Way Park board and the Community Ministries board (which had charge of the community center) merged, the money was put into one account. Lewis Allen is treasurer.

There is $7,000 in the baseball account, and the remainder will be to operate the park until more funds are secured. Mark Hayes is treasurer of the ball account, and Mike Luttrell is in charge of the program.

"If we get the kids involved, it will bring the parents in," said Sam Smith.

Tomero said an office for volunteers will be open at the park where people can drop by anytime. "We welcome you to be a friend of the park."

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