April 4, 2013

Park expansion will allow for small concerts, special events

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A brick wall came tumbling down on Main Street as a "Pocket Park" is being expanded by London Downtown.  

The compact park has been owned by Shirley "Sweetie" Smith for decades. She recently donated the use of the space as a place for special events hosted by London Downtown.

"Having lived in London all my life, I'm pleased and proud to be a part of the beautification of downtown by allowing them the use of my property on Main Street," Smith said.

The London Downtown Design Committee plans to make the space functional for small concerts, special events, and other events approved by the organization.  

"We plan to make this a welcoming retreat and a true asset for downtown," said Chris Robinson, executive director of London Downtown.

A gate will be installed to close the expanse to the public when not in use.  The space will also be available for rent although a fee has yet to be established.

Planters and other items will be stationed within the space, while park swings and magnolia trees will remain.  This will be on ongoing project that London Downtown intends to build upon for 2013.  Before the park can be officially opened, it must pass a safety inspection due to the aging brick walls surrounding the space.

Robinson is hopeful to utilize the park by Friday, April 12 for pre-Redbud Ride events.  The space will be used for entertainment during the 2013 Kentucky H.O.G. Rally on Saturday, June 8.

"Rehabilitating pocket park has been on the Design Committee's wish list for a long time, and we are so excited to begin planning and developing this unique space as a fun and functional retreat in the midst of downtown.  The space will be a great addition to London downtown's beautiful streetscape," said Margaret Zoellers, committee chair of the Design Committee.

Rehabilitation to the space is paid for through funds raised by London Downtown.  Smith has leased the space to London Downtown at no cost for five years.  

For more information about London Downtown, visit or call 606-862-8841.