Park dreams: Ground broken at site of Project 1107; GCF anticipates fall opening for greenspace, park
Published 11:20 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The Greater Clark Foundation Board of Directors and staff gathered Monday to break ground on a project five years in the making.
With the ceremony Monday afternoon, the board announced that site preparations are now underway on Project 1107.
The 30-acres, known as Project 1107 for its address at 1107 W. Lexington Ave., will be transformed into a park that establishes a legacy of well-being in Clark County, according to a press release from GCF.
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“I want to thank the board for their patience and their hard work in getting us here today, which is really a dream come true,” board Chairman Paul Embs said during the ceremony.
Board member Ed Mastrean, who also chairs the Legacy Committee for the project, said the board has worked not only diligently, but carefully in planning Project 1107.
“The charge of the board, from the beginning when the old Clark Regional Medical Center building was here, was to find a responsible and economically feasible way to repurpose the space,” he said. “When we discovered that there was no way we could repurpose the building, it was just not in good enough shape, we had to find what to do with these 30-plus acres.”
Mastrean said that space could have easily become any number of different things, but the board listened to the community input and remained devoted to continuing the legacy of health and well-being established at the location by the old hospital.
“When completed, Project 1107 will have a long-lasting legacy and impact in our community,” he said. “It will be a place where the people in our community and from other places can come enjoy the fresh air, where children can play, where people of all ages can come together.”
The project plans stem from the input of nearly 200 Clark County residents over the past five years about how to repurpose the land where the former hospital once stood through discussions, committee meetings and even a Youth Design Team made up of local students.
As of Monday, design plans were not available to public.
“What is truly special about the design of this park is it reflects what community members said they want to see, not just for their current family members, but for generations to come,” said Beth Jones, GCF program officer. “They spoke, and we listened. When the park opens, we’re excited to present a place that will bring people together from all backgrounds.”
The goal of Project 1107 is to encourage the health and well-being of the community.
“Part of the mission of The Greater Clark Foundation is to improve the quality of life and health of our community,” Embs said. “There’s no better place to do that than a park.”
There will be spaces for recreation, education and cultural activities and opportunities for people of all ages to play, reflect, exercise and use their imaginations, according to the release.
The park will include a two-acre children’s playspace, nature trails and walking paths, a dog park, native plants and large lawns and embraces Winchester’s unique location, “where the Bluegrass meets Appalachia,” according to the release.
The park will be ADA-accessible and the playspace was designed with inclusivity for children of all abilities. Features include climbing structures, swings, loose parts play and a stream that offer a throw-back to the nature play of the past when children played outside in creeks and went on hikes.
“Project 1107 will be a great legacy gift for our community to enjoy for generations to come,” said Jen Algire, GCF president and chief executive officer. “Parks are one of the truest examples of democracy in our society. They are free and open to everyone. This will be no exception.”
Kevin Mills, project manager for Dean Builds, the design-build firm responsible for the final design plans, said the first phases of construction will include mass earth work. Mills said soil will be moved and stockpiled for later use in the project.
Then underground utilities will need to be moved before construction of the playground can begin. Mills said work on the playground could start in late spring or early summer.
Construction is expected to take about six months, with an anticipated opening in the fall.
The community will be invited to get a first-look at how the new park is shaping up when GCF hosts “hard hat tours” in late summer. Dates and times will be announced at a later time.
To follow along with construction and find updates about events, visit The Greater Clark Foundation’s website at clarkambition.org or at Facebook.com/clarkambition.