Board member pushing for new plans for Carson Park
By Mason Watkins
McCRACKEN Co, Ky -
It's purpose is carved in stone. Carson Park: for horse shows, county fairs and horse training. Sandra Deweese told Local 6 the park can be re-imagined while keeping that spirit.
She has been on the Carson Park Board since 2003 and has been working on her plan for more than a year. She got help and ideas from other horse parks in the country and talked with community leaders and architects while developing her proposed plan.
"It's a new park," she said. "It's not an upgraded improvement of what we already have."
She said an indoor riding arena is a must. There are very few in the state and area. Only a handful of horse shows get booked at the current park because weather could easily cancel events. Plus, she'd like to see a special needs horse barn built nearby so therapeutic riding can resume. Add in three additional outdoor arenas, a riding trail, a retail building, and maybe a horse-themed playground and DeWeese said the park would be educational, therapeutic, a tourist attraction, and benefit the economy by bringing in income and jobs.
DeWeese presented her plan to the McCracken County Fiscal Court Monday night. It's the first time this court has seen it, but previous commissioners saw a similar plan two years ago. Under Judge Executive Van Newberry, the county chipped in 50 percent matches for the grants the Park received. DeWeese said it was very beneficial because the money provided heating and air conditioning in Floral Hall, allowing it to be rented year-round. However, a lot of the money never came, hung up waiting for federal approval.
"I'm asking for the county's support, both with their words and actions and also I'd like some money," she said. DeWeese said, in the best-case scenario that she gets everything in her plan, it could cost from $3 to $4 million and they could renovate the park all at once with a grand re-opening. It's more likely it will be completed project-by-project through grants, private donations, and some county support. She said it will be much harder to do without a thumbs-up from the Fiscal Court.