Parks dept. makes progress on projects

Contributed photo

Friday afternoon the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Million Park Dog Park, located at E.C. Million Park. This is now the second dog park in the city and will service the local community. The day of the opening, there were approximately 20 people on hand, including the new K-9 unit for Richmond Police Department.


The Richmond Parks and Recreation Board has a lot to look forward to in regards to both up-and-coming and recently opened park projects.

Friday, the board celebrated the opening of Million Park Dog Park at E.C. Million, which welcomed around 20 dogs, 25 humans and Richmond Police Department's newest canine officer, Logan.

Jon McChesney, the board's chair, said he received some feedback of people expressing some concern that there is no access to water for the park's pet visitors.

According to Joe Bentley, director of Richmond Parks and Recreation maintenance, this would be a challenging fix, because the area the park is located in is really dry, especially with the current drought. He added that he would hope to add more shade in the park.

On Saturday, the parks board will have another ribbon cutting ceremony for Millstone Park, located downtown on Main Street. The park will feature 32 millstones, a majority of which were donated by local resident Speedy Denny, who was the primary contractor for the park.

All but two or three stones are believed to be the only stones that weren't once located in the county, and they carry an extensive history of mills used in the county. That was Denny's primary reason behind pitching the idea to Rob Minerich, the city's manager.

"Denny has invested so much work into the construction of the park that he has put his primary contracting business on the back burner," Bentley said.

The park's opening will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at 224 E. Main St. in Richmond.

Erin Moore, the director of Richmond Parks and Recreation, also gave an update about the city's accessible playground, which they received two bids for last week.

She asked that the board look at the assessments of each bid, and make choices on the assessment to help determine which offer they would lean towards.

When asked by another board member if there was a certain bid she favored, Moore replied saying, "I definitely think there are good things about both, but one stood out based on the comparison report."

Moore plans to meet with Minerich tomorrow to discuss the board's recommendation and hopes to have a definitive answer to present to the city commissioners at the Oct. 8 meeting.

Other than the excitement of progress with projects, a theme throughout the meeting's discussion was the effect of the continued heat on park's programs.

Kayak rentals at Lake Reba was down about 100 rentals from last year, according to Moore.

She said heat was her best guess for the decrease in numbers. The board was informed that this year, the park saw around 500 rentals as compared with last year's 600.

Furthering the conversation about drought impact, Elizabeth Eversole, parks program coordinator, talked about the season's first movie in the park event, which saw 75 to 100 people.

"Not a whole lot of people want to attend an event when it is 90 degrees outside dark," she said.

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• The park's board is looking for volunteers for the annual Special Olympics Chili Fundraiser and Silent Auction event on Nov. 1. Volunteers are needed for setup and serving. Setup will be from 2 to 4 p.m., and service and cleanup will run from 6 to 9 p.m. People can volunteer by contacting or calling 859-623-8753.

• Mason Chamblee, the museum and recreation programmer, discussed Yoga in the Park, saying they were noticing an uptick in session potentially due to the lack of rain as well as not charging a participation fee. The previous session, he said, saw the most attendance.

• Chamblee also reported that he was approaching the bid deadline for repairs on the Irvinton House Museum and hopes to have those on the commissioner's meeting next week.

The next park board meeting is rescheduled for Oct. 29 because of a K.P.R.S. annual conference.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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