The Franklin County Fiscal Court on Friday saw ample discussion of both appointments to county boards and a potential reimagining of Lakeview Park.
The Lakeview Park work session was held to discuss a request for proposals (RFP) that the court is sending out to develop a master plan/feasibility study for the park. Several magistrates, particularly Michael Mueller and Scotty Tracy, have expressed strong interest in building a large events venue at the 132-acre park off Steadmantown Lane and U.S. 460.
The work session item began with a slideshow presentation from Franklin County Parks and Recreation Director Charles Lewis, who pointed out several park improvements since 2015, including a new splash pad, a dog park, volleyball courts, a pavilion and a disc golf course.
Judge-Executive Huston Wells, who said that the county had recently developed and acted on a master plan regarding Lakeview Park, also referred citizens to a survey on the Franklin County Parks and Recreation website where they can provide input on what they would like to see there.
Tracy, after the slideshow, asked what in the park currently draws people from surrounding communities into Franklin County.
“What at Lakeview Park is a destination?” Tracy asked. “… What do we currently have at Lakeview Park that would entice people to come stay in Franklin County and spend money here?”
Mueller said he had spoken with Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Kopp, Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber and Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown about the potential for a bigger project at Lakeview Park.
“They’re excited about the potential of creating something special for our community,” Mueller said. “They’ve thrown around things like performing arts centers and maybe things that K-State could host … . I’m super excited about getting this RFP out and seeing what comes back.”
The only strong voice against a potential large project at Lakeview Park was Magistrate Marti Booth, who voted against a request for proposal (RFP) to seek consultants to develop the new master plan at the court’s last meeting.
“I am against the master plan,” Booth said. “We have spent money on it every year since I have been a magistrate, and I have been for it … . I don’t think it’s worth the money.”
Magistrate Sherry Sebastian called the plan “progressive and proactive” and said that she was excited about what could come from the planning process.
Wells, in discussing hopes for a large facility, indicated that it could necessitate a tax increase of some kind.
“I want to say let’s do it, but it takes four votes to increase taxes — which it’s going to take in some form or fashion — to implement items from the master plan,” Wells said. “They’re going to be expensive.”
Wells said that the county Parks Committee would have a meeting regarding the Lakeview Park RFP on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The meeting will be aired on the Fiscal Court’s Facebook page.
Two appointments were approved by the court: Charlie Burnette to the Farmdale Sanitation District Board and Darrell Sanderson to the Frankfort/Franklin County Planning Commission.
Burnette’s appointment was approved without opposition. The prior appointee, Barbara Polly, resigned from the board after one meeting.
Sanderson’s was contested, with several magistrates criticizing the appointment process overseen by Wells. Sanderson was narrowly appointed 4-3.
Mueller, Sebastian and Magistrate J.W. Blackburn all voted no because of a “dearth” of information they received about Sanderson prior to voting on his appointment. Tracy was also critical of the process.
Those four members complained that they were only sent brief material regarding Sanderson’s past service on the commission and his employment history, and that the information regarding the commission vacancy — a member resigned in December — could have been relayed to the court in its December meeting before Wells brought Sanderson for approval.
Upon request from the court, Sanderson shared his work experience — which included military service, state government work, business experience and a previous stint on the planning commission — the morning of the meeting. Sanderson previously served in the 2000’s on the planning commission for four years.
- Lakeview Park
- Huston Wells
- Marti Booth
- Sherry Sebastian
- J.w. Blackburn
- Charles Lewis
- Franklin County
- Darrell Sanderson
- Michael Mueller