Danville could acquire Boyle’s half of Millennium Park

Published 9:26 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

In an unexpected move, Danville is negotiating with Boyle County for outright control of Millennium Park and the Parks and Recreation agency. Boyle County could be compensated through land exchange and/or financial means.

During a meeting Monday afternoon, the newly formed joint working committee between the city and county — created last week to address how to handle the findings and recommendations of the city’s recent completed parks master plan — Boyle County Magistrate Phil Sammons initially said the county proposed giving its interest in Millennium Park to the city in exchange for property the city owns on Redrier Lane and 10 acres of the city-owned fairgrounds to possibly build a new EMS station. The county also was prepared to offer $50,000 annually to help maintain the park.

City Attorney Stephen Dexter said the findings and recommendations from the city’s recently completed parks master plan showed that a single government entity had to be the sole owner of Millennium Park in order for it to grow and improve its facilities. Under Kentucky law, city and county joint recreation boards are limited in what they can do, he said.

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“There comes a tipping point when expectations reach a certain level. … You can’t obtain the desired services without certain partnerships. And they can’t be obtained in the current frame worked under our joint city county framework,” Dexter said. “By having Parks and Rec as a department, as a single governmental entity, it opens up doors — big doors — to expand partnerships that we simply aren’t afforded the opportunity to achieve that we need to achieve. Parks and Rec doesn’t have the authority because Parks and Rec doesn’t own the park.”

By having Parks and Rec under one government, like the City of Danville, “it allows cooperative partnerships with people like the hospital, or Centre College.” Dexter said, “The parks board, as it stands today, does not have the authority to gain those types of partnerships. That’s why structural change is essential to the future.”

“We’ve got to look at what’s really best for our community. That’s first. What’s best for Danville and Boyle County. That’s the main goal,” Sammons said.

After about an hour of discussion, Dexter said he believed the consensus of the subcommittee — made up of Sammons and Boyle Magistrate Tom Ellis and city councilman Kevin Caudill and Rick Serres — was for Parks and Rec to be a city department and that the county should contribute money that is capped, through a service agreement approved the fiscal court annually. He said the city would allow the Parks and Rec board to be restructured and a new director would be hired. “The new director would work with the board, but ultimately report to the city manager,” Dexter said.

“And then there would be some shift in public assets,” Dexter said, which could include the county selling White’s Park (at the fairgrounds) to the city and the city giving property to the county.

Dexter acknowledged that there were still details and finances to work out between the city and county. He will have another draft of the proposals ready when the subcommittee meets again at 4 p.m. Monday at the courthouse.

Once the sub committee agrees on a document, they will take it to their respective governments for more discussions before any action will be taken.

“We agree the city should have it (the county’s half of Millennium Park) and we’d like to be compensated,” Sammons said. “We’ve got over a million dollars in that park.”

He said by getting some land from the city, it could be possible to move the recycling center, road department and EMS headquarters, freeing up those spaces to be used for the Boyle County Detention Center.