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County receives federal grant for Vastwood splash pad area

Hancock County Fiscal Court has received a $200,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to construct a splash pad and other improvements at Vastwood Park.

Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts said the planned improvements are part of ongoing efforts to improve the county’s parks facilities, which also include South Hancock Park and the Lewisport Boat Ramp Park.

“We will be reaching out to suppliers and vendors to review the scope of the project, and determine how certain price increases might affect our plans,” Roberts said. “We are excited to receive the grant, and believe the addition at Vastwood will greatly improve recreation opportunities right here at home.”

Roberts said there have already been interviews with design teams to finalize the layout of the play area and recirculation system, to include a UV disinfection system.

“Many of the splash parks in communities around us utilize a flow-through system that goes back into the wastewater system,” he said. “The county doesn’t own the water system, so recirculation will drastically reduce the water costs and alleviate resource waste.”

The splash pad will also have accessible water play features.

Roberts told Fiscal Court Tuesday he also envisions additional restroom facilities near the splash pad, though the cost might be prohibitive.

The LWCF grant program is administered by the Department of Local Government in Frankfort, with grant applications undergoing federal review and approval from the National Parks Service.

“We are extremely proud of our parks system, especially Vastwood,” Roberts said. “It is simply put, a beautiful place, and Fiscal Court has been making investments to improve things for our citizens. Our parks are a priority.”

Playground equipment has been purchased for Vastwood and South Hancock, with installation projected for mid-summer. As well, recent improvements at Vastwood include new fencing at the lake swimming area and ongoing roof replacement at the beach house.

The county and Hancock County Schools jointly purchased bleachers for the high school girls softball fields, which have been delivered, though a contractor to assemble the bleachers at a reasonable price has not yet been found.

The total LWCF disbursement in Kentucky totals $4.2 million for projects with a focus on outdoor and fitness-related improvements, including playground equipment, walking and biking paths, and bringing recreational facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Making sure out parks and recreation spaces are open and accessible to all Kentuckians is important to every Kentucky community, and a priority for my administration,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Providing safe spaces for all our families to exercise and gather is a critical part of building a better Kentucky.”

By C. Josh Givens

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