By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Construction on the county's Wellness Park behind Somerset Community College will continue, thanks to a $75,000 federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant. The Laurel County Fiscal Court has agreed to match the $75,000 grant in order to install a playground and splash pad at the London-Laurel County Wellness Park.
"Personally, I think this is one of the greatest things that's ever happened to the county. We will have something to offer here in tough economic times when people don't seem to have the monies to travel," said Laurel County Judge-Executive David Westerfield. "Parents can walk while kids play and the library's right next door. It's going to be awesome."
The LWCF provides federal grant funds to protect important natural areas, acquire land for outdoor recreation and to develop or renovate public outdoor recreation facilities such as campgrounds, picnic areas, facilities, trails, and natural areas.
Of the $3 million in federal grant requests this year, and only $600,000 to spend, London and Laurel County received $70,000 of it.
"We feel very lucky to get it," said Rick Cochrane, City of London safety officer.
The county will match the federal grant with in-kind contributions to install the park's equipment and use local labor to dig up cracked concrete surrounding the retired coal silos and install water lines for a future public restroom.
Third Rock Consultants are working with city officials on the design. The park currently has a completed skatepark and partially completed bicycle and running/hiking trail. Two picnic shelters are located beside the skatepark and are equipped with outdoor grills.
The park sits on 47 acres near SCC and the Laurel County Public Library. It is expected to be open to the public by June.
"It's going to be the destination around here when it opens," Cochrane said.
Donations for the London-Laurel County Wellness Park are welcome. To learn more about the city's park expansion projects or to donate funds, contact London City Hall at 606-864-6995.