Community members from across Hardin County came to celebrate the opening two new public features at Optimist Park in Vine Grove.
This includes the “Fun for Everyone Splash Pad” and a dog park.
The splash pad is the second major project from Rachel Ritchie and her family’s Rachel’s Fun for Everyone Project. It cost $500,000, with $450,000 paid for through donations and the other $50,000 paid for by the city.
“I am very grateful that we have the Ritchie family in our community,” said Vine Grove Mayor Pam Ogden.
Ogden also announced the fact that the new access road at the park will be called Rachel Way. She also unveiled a stone that contained a thank you message to Rachel, and a bench that honors the Ritchie family.
Ritchie spoke at the event, and discussed the origins of her project and her desire to build fun, accessible spaces for the children of the city.
“Those words weren’t mine,” Ritchie said when she was talking about first approaching the city council about her ideas. “They were God’s. The power and wonder of God is the only thing that can claim the goodness that has been this journey.”
Ritchie just finished her first year at Georgetown College studying communication and psychology.
“I’m looking forward to whatever God has in store,” she said after the splash pad opened.
The maintenance of both the Optimist Park playground and the splash pad has now been handed over from the Ritchie family to the city.
More from this section
By the park on the grassy area near the amphitheater is the new dog park, which was a project put together by members of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s 2022-23 Hardin County Leadership Class.
The class raised a total of $19,912 for the dog park, which includes two fenced in areas where people can have their dogs run around and play within.
DJ Vieu came to the splash pad opening with his daughter. He said they’ve lived in the town for about eight years, and was happy to hear about the new addition to the community.
He said they had previously gone to the splash pad in Elizabethtown.
“This will be definitely more convenient for us,” Vieu said.
Even though he was unaware of it when they arrived, he said he was also happy to see they had opened a dog park on the premises as well, and intends to bring his own dog to it.
Radcliff resident Hannah Swartz went to the splash pad opening with some friends and her nieces.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Swartz said.
She said that she liked that the layout of the splash pad allows parents to be able to monitor the whole thing so the parents can sit and relax while watching their children. She said she could see her nieces coming by the splash pad again.
“Probably regularly if I had to guess,” she said.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.