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Tennis courts to be removed and parking improved at park

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By Lorrie Kinkade

By LORRIE KINKADE

The Trimble Banner

Changes at the Trimble County Park were on the agenda at this week’s regular meeting of the Trimble County Fiscal Court.

Last month, court members were notified that a federal grant to install new tennis courts at the park had been approved for the requested amount of $37,500. Magistrates had previously planned to convert the old courts, located on the south side of the Senior Citizens Center, to a parking lot only after the new courts were built; however that plan was changed at the Dec. 15 meeting.

Currently, visitors to the senior building, which also serves as the administrative office for several low-income programs, must park in the lot on the south side of the shelter. The new lot would significantly shorten the walking distance to the front door and allow drop offs within 5-foot of the building. In addition, an adjacent walkway would allow those seeking assistance not related to senior activities to access to an alternate entrance currently not used by anyone.

Senior Center administrator Pam Craig urged magistrates to move forward with the court conversion now, due to safety concerns for senior citizens trying to access the facility in the winter.

“It’s a challenge on a good day” to get some seniors safely from the parking lot, she told the court. “We’ve been very fortunate there have been no serious injuries in bad weather.”

Because the county must provide $37,500, in cash or in-kind donations, to receive the grant, it will likely be spring before the new courts are completed, which magistrates acknowledged could displace tennis enthusiasts for a short time. The courts are regularly used by tennis teams from Trimble County High School, as well as other youth and adults in the area.

“There are young, vital people who will be inconvenienced for a short time. But there are senior citizens who have been inconvenienced for years,” Craig said.

Judge-executive Randy Stevens pointed out that numerous senior citizens attended a public hearing and signed a petition to assist the county in obtaining the grant, while only one person said they were signing to help get the new courts.

Ultimately, Kirby Melvin made a motion to “get it done,” which was seconded by Stephen Stark and unanimously approved. Work, all of which may be completed by county employees, will likely begin this month.

Also during the meeting, magistrates requested Stevens apply for a Recreational Trails grant to carve out walking paths at the park.

Stevens reminded magistrates that the grant must be matched by county funds or in-kind donations and urged them to begin thinking about the 2009-10 budget to find a source for the county’s share.

Magistrates also agreed to hire Steve Teague to fill a part-time temporary position at the road department. Teague, who retired from the department earlier this year, will work a maximum of 32 hours per week until May 1 or earlier. His experience with the department and the county road system were cited as reasons he was the best candidate for the position.

By a vote of 3-1, with magistrate Stark opposing, the court approved Stevens’ appointment of Sharon Law to the UK Extension Office’s oversight board. A motion to approve another nominee, Rita Davis, failed to be seconded and died without a vote.