La Grange Springs Park opens in Oldham County

La Grange Springs Park opens in Oldham County

Springs Park in La Grange held a grand opening for several of its focal attractions Friday evening, including a splash pad and million-dollar Farmers’ Market pavilion.

By Christian Marnon, Editor
The Oldham EraPreview (opens in a new tab)
July 1, 2022

Hundreds gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony and address from Mayor John Black for the park’s 6 p.m. opening. Dozens of children cooled off in the splash pad sprinklers while adults enjoyed food trucks and live music from The Decades underneath the pavilion.

Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles also attended to commemorate the Farmer’s Market pavilion. The Kentucky Ag Development Fund Council pledged $245,000 of tobacco settlement funds toward the million-dollar structure, that contribution facilitated by the Oldham County Extension Ag Development Council.

The exposed-brick, arched structure, designed by Environ-Jones in Crestwood, resembles a train depot in the spirit of La Grange. Russ Morris, manager of the La Grange Farmers’ Market, said the pavilion has already prompted the formation of a new Tuesday market from 4-7 p.m. It should also allow them to extend their season.

“It will give us shelter from the elements,” he said. “[That means] we might be able to start in April and go through the holiday season.”

Morris also said dreams of a farmers’ market pavilion date back to 2013. The market began in 2004 with four vendors and today boasts nearly 50.

With its new location, particularly in immediate proximity to potential customers frequenting the park, Morris said he has high hopes for the future.

“We chose the new Tuesday market slot [in coordination] with those park visitors,” he said.

The Springs Park concept dates back at least a decade, when a group of students from Cincinnati visited La Grange as part of a capstone class project to create a “strategic downtown plan,” Mayor John Black said in an interview Friday morning. Many of the suggestions from that plan carried forward through the years to the park’s present design, he said.

The Springs Park Committee, led by Ann Zimlich, played a key role in taking the park from a concept to reality, Black said. Vision for the splash pad concept, he added began with former La Grange Mayor and current councilor Bill Lammlein.

Black gave a cost estimate of $4.6 million for total park project, which will open in three phases. Future amenities include a skate park, playground area, basketball goals, a house purchased by the city to be converted to community meeting space and park overlook, art installations, along with further plans for an outdoor amphitheater for movie screenings and more.

The playground should open by mid-July, Black said. The city currently awaits two focal points from the playground—a large locomotive model and a piece of play equipment modeled after an acorn. Both came from overseas and were last logged in Texas.

Despite the many amenities, Black said the bulk of park costs stem from infrastructure and utility work, namely water.

“A lot of it was underground water, detention work to make the site adaptable,” he said. “The infrastructure costs were significant.”

Black said he’s seen a mix of detractors and supporters on the city council for the project, but he ultimately considers Springs Park a quality of life investment for the residents of La Grange.

“In my years of public service, people [often] wonder what we do with the tax money we receive,” he said. “I want that tax money to roll into something…for kids to have fun growing up in our community makes me feel good about public service…I want things to happen and for people in our community to be able to see it, touch it…We can either spend nothing and have nothing or spend money wisely and have nice things. For those who did vote [in favor of this], they will be proud of what they see here.”

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