Friends of Otter Creek Park Meeting January 5th

Here’s an update on Otter Creek Park happenings from our affiliated blog http://saveottercreekpark.wordpress.com:

The next meeting of the group provisionally entitled Friends of Otter Creek Park will be Monday, January 5th, 2009 at the Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Hwy #106 in Southwest Louisville at 7 PM. This group is a citizen-led, grassroots effort to explore what possibilities exist for keeping Otter Creek Park open for recreational usage and free from commercial, industrial or residential development. Given that Louisville Metro government plans to close OCP on Thursday, January 1st, we are also committed to finding ways to reopen the park to the public as soon as possible.

As of this writing, this group has many members but no clear organization or official mission, so defining the group will be the main task of Monday’s meeting. The author of this blog, Joel Hunt, was elected Co-Chairperson of the group along with Patsy Bowman (organizer of the previous two rallies), and as such I wrote an initial email to our members, of which the elements which pertain to the next meeting I’ll share here:

… Our next meeting at the Southwest Government Center on Monday, January 5th, 2009 at 7:00 PM. 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 phonebanks 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.

So send along your suggestions for the meeting’s agenda to this email, saveottercreekpark@gmail.com, and I’ll put forth a rough version to send to everyone in the next few days (as time allows — obviously the holidays are busy times for everyone, myself included!). If there’s anyone you think should be involved with this effort but isn’t included on this email, please let me know ASAP! Also, if there are concerned community members out there who don’t use email but want to be involved, please put them in contact with myself and the group. We need as many committed people as possible!

With that in mind, we’re sounding the call now. If you are interested in joining our cause, you are welcome to join us at the Southwest Government Center on Monday the 5th. If you would like to take an active role in helping us develop the agenda for the meeting — as well as what direction the group may take — please contact me at saveottercreekpark@gmail.com. I’ll post the meeting’s agenda in the next few days as soon as a draft version is ready.

Additionally, please contact your Louisville Metro Councilmember and invite them to the meeting. You can do so by contacting them here:

Metro Council
601 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-1100
Address postal mail to individual Councilmember.

http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroCouncil/ – This site links to individual Councilmembers.

Additionally, WFPL, Louisville’s National Public Radio station, is running a story this morning that confirms the the City of Louisville is searching for another entity, whether public or private, to run Otter Creek Park after the city closes it this Thursday, January 1st:

Otter Creek Park in Meade County is set to close this week. But efforts aimed at re-opening the park in 2009 are underway.

For decades, Otter Creek Park has been owned and operated by Louisville Metro Government. But the park will close on Friday to help meet a $20 million city budget shortfall.

Metro Parks is looking for another entity to operate the facility, such as the state or the city of Fort Knox. Spokesperson Jason Cissell says even if a new operator is found now, the park will still close this week.

“It would take some time to transition it over to another operating entity, to give them time to staff-up and prepare to operate the facility,” he says. “We don’t have a specific timeframe but we would be hopeful that it would re-open within a matter of months if someone else were able to come in and operate it.”

Cissell says if a public entity doesn’t agree to take over Otter Creek Park, the city may consider private interests. He says a private operator would still be required to keep the facility open to the public, only for recreational use.

This is the first time that Metro Parks has mentioned finding another entity to run OCP, and so far no one from Metro Parks or elsewhere in Louisville Metro government has made an effort to contact our citizens group to inform us of these negotiations. As far as we know, they haven’t contacted any other recreational-interest group, either.

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One Response to “Friends of Otter Creek Park Meeting January 5th”

  1. Charles R. Stinson Jr. Says:

    when is Ottercreek opening back up?or where can I fish in Ottercreek outside of park?

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