Tonight’s Otter Creek Park Meeting and the Next Steps…

(This post is duplicated from our sister site http://saveottercreekpark.wordpress.com. As such, we’ve dropped the third person.)

(Kevin Martin addresses the crowd.)

Approximately 150 people came out to the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway on a frigid night to discuss what we can do as citizens to try to keep Otter Creek Park from closure. Brian Tucker of The Valley Report has already posted this fantastic write-up of the night’s activities:

The Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway was reduced to standing-room-only status tonight, as around 150 people jammed the main courtroom to share ideas and plan strategy in order to save Otter Creek Park from permanent closure. Nearly 20% of attendees were from counties outside of Jefferson. The meeting, assembled by concerned citizen Patsy Bowman and moderated by local Realtor Kevin Martin, included Councilman Bob Henderson (D-14) and Mary Ann Vetter, a representative of Metro District 12 Councilman Rick Blackwell’s office. Also in attendance was Renay Davis from Metro District 25 Councilman Doug Hawkins’ office and Joel Hunt, a concerned citizen that maintains a website dedicated to saving Otter Creek Park. No traditional media attended this event.

I didn’t know what to expect because I had heard so little about the meeting, but thankfully the word got out. Those in attendance had the opportunity to throw out ideas on how to generate revenue or expand activities at the park in an effort to keep it open. Here are a few of the suggestions:

  • -Paid memberships
  • -Formation of a “Non-Profit” foundation
  • -A Tri-County Park Commission, consisting of representatives from Meade, Jefferson and Hardin Counties
  • -A First-Class restaurant with an alcoholic beverage licence
  • -Admission fees (per vehicle or per person)

Also mentioned were efforts to involve sportsman, horseman, biking and hiking groups. People seemed against any type of Wildlife Management Area status or residential/commercial development of any kind. Also heard were calls to “open the books”. There are formal petitions circulating. Please sign the petition when you get a chance.

In the end, a formal committee was formed and a chairperson was elected. Congratulations to Joel Hunt, chairperson of the new Committee to Save Otter Creek Park. There will be advance notice of the next meeting. I was very satisfied with the coming together of so many personalities and backgrounds to accomplish this feat. We have only just begun. With this diverse and determined group, I feel confident that there will be a plan developed allowing the park to remain open. They’ve got the guns, but we have the numbers. Get involved now.

So without further ado, I’m pleased to announce that, yes, I will be Chairperson of this new Ad-Hoc Committee to Save Otter Creek Park. I just wrote an email to a large group of people who stayed until the very end of tonight’s meeting to get started on organizing this group, and without butchering it too much, here are the relevant bits for our next steps:

As we also voted on, we hope to have our next meeting at the Southwest Government Center on Monday, January 5th, 2009 at 7:00 PM. Patsy, who will be Co-Chair of the Committee, and I will work together to firm up that date tomorrow, and will send an email confirming the meeting to everyone here. Additionally, the meeting will be open to the public and the local news media, as well as any other group with an interest in keeping Otter Creek Park open. Louisville Metro representatives and/or representatives from any other relevant government agency (counties, state, federal) will be invited as well. Information about the meeting will be publicized on http://saveottercreekpark.wordpress.com as well as on the Facebook Save Otter Creek Park group.

As we all know, the Park will be closed by the city on January 1st, so the next steps that we as a group take will be important. With that in mind, being organized and presenting a clear, coherent message to the community at large about what Otter Creek Park means to us and our families is very important. So in turn I’d like to propose that we develop an agenda for the next meeting, with the emphasis first on organizing as a group by determining sub-committees to tackle individual goals (examples: Petitions and Volunteering; Public Relations and Media; Non-Profit and Charity Outreach, etc.), electing officers, and discussing whether this group should or should not be incorporated as some sort of legal entity. Additionally, I think we need to see what petition signatures we as a group can collect in the next two weeks, and consolidate that data into phone banks and email lists. Lastly, we need to craft a mission statement for the group, as well develop a media strategy to inform the public. That said, these are what I think the priorities should be, but I am more than happy to keep the agenda open not only to members of this committee, but the general public as well. While saving Otter Creek Park is our goal, we should exercise as much transparency as possible to achieve it.

As I just stated above, I believe in keeping our group’s goals and efforts as transparent as possible. With that in mind, I’d like to invite anyone reading this blog who may have not been able to make it tonight, or anyone who wants to help out in any way they can, to try to attend the next meeting. Additionally, please feel free to contact me about the meeting’s agenda and your ideas on what should be discussed.

You can send along your suggestions for the meeting’s agenda to the email, saveottercreekpark@gmail.com, and I’ll put forth a rough version to this site in the next few days (as time allows — obviously the holidays are busy times for everyone, myself included!). In the meantime, I’m going to work hard to get the word out once the next meeting’s details are confirmed. Also, if there are concerned community members out there who don’t use email but want to be involved, please feel free to put them in contact with myself and the group. We need as many committed people as possible!

Thanks again, everybody — especially Patty Bowman and Kevin Martin –for all your time and effort. I believe that we will make a difference for the Park that we all love.

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One Response to “Tonight’s Otter Creek Park Meeting and the Next Steps…”

  1. Jennifer Tipton Says:

    Thanks for the write up. I think we’re beginning to get some cohesion.
    I think it would be wise for Joel’s group and KyMBA to get together. I have a feeling it would be a force to be reckoned with.

    It was nice meeting you tonight, ( blond in the orange jacket, asked for your business card). Signed up for the ad hoc committee as well.

    Cheers,
    Jennifer Tipton-Frazier

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