Want to join us in making a difference? We are raising money to build The Westside Community Park in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Any donation will help make an impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me.
According to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition only one in three children are physically active every day and less than 5% of adults have 30 minutes of daily physical activity. More than 80% of adolescents don’t do enough aerobic physical activity to meet youth guidelines. Not only are children not physically active, but they now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen.
Nationally, only one in five homes are within a half-mile of a park, a fitness center or a recreation facility. Could lack of convenient opportunity for play, recreation and fitness be a contributor to these dismal health and human services statistics?
For the residents of the Hustonville zip code (40437), their reality is even worse. 78% of the 4,964 residents are not getting the necessary amount of daily physical activity and that includes over 1,000 children and adolescents. For them, the three closest opportunities for recreation, fitness and play are twelve, fifteen and twenty-six miles away respectively: Veterans’ Park in Stanford, Millennium Park in Danville and Anderson Dean Community Park in Harrodsburg.
Something has to be done, yet there are no current plans by county or municipal governments to develop any public parks, playgrounds, sports fields, or fitness courses anywhere in the west side of Lincoln County, Kentucky.
As residents what can we do? That was the question the congregation of Westside Community United Methodist Church began asking in the fall of 2017. What resources do we have that could be devoted to solving this problem? Eight acres of land on the primary transit corridor for Hustonville would be a good place to start. Would it be possible to partner with local residents and businesses to collaboratively build a community park on this land that would be open from dawn until dusk seven days a week ? Could we pool our resources with the community to change the current reality and develop a safe, convenient, clean place for families to enjoy play, fitness, sports recreation and social connection? As a church who believes that we exist to bring hope and help to our community, we are confident that it is absolutely possible.
On November 18, 2018 we launched the plan for The Westside Community Park. Our vision is a destination park that will serve community residents and families throughout the region. The center of the park will be a picnic pavilion to host family and community events. It will seat 250 and include accessible restrooms, a serving area, a kitchen, and staging with sound and projection. There will be a 13,500 square foot commercial-grade playground, with a separate toddler area and ADA accessible features, including wheelchair-friendly surfacing. Recreation opportunities will include soccer fields, a sand volleyball court, tetherball courts, and a basketball court. For fitness, a half-mile, paved walking trail and a ninja fitness course will keep families active and entertained. These are the park elements presented at our launch, but people have already started dreaming bigger. Greater levels of funding could make possible elements like an amphitheater for concerts, a dog park, a community garden or even a stocked fishing pond. Building a park as a community collaboration opens up endless possibilities.
A project like this can transform a community, but it is bigger than any one person or organization. It will take as many people and organizations as possible, sharing what they are capable of from their resources to make this dream a reality. We are confident in the spirit of generosity that will drive this vision to success. Will you share the resources that you are able to prove that nothing is impossible when we are willing to work together?