Daviess Fiscal Court is moving forward with developing its planned Horse Fork Creek Park Inclusive Accessible Playground.

Members thought they had to approve a memorandum of agreement with the Kentucky Department of Local Government on Tuesday to get final approval for the $150,000 grant from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund.

But a Nov. 5 vote had already finalized the grant, the court learned.

What that means is the new handicapped-accessible playground should be ready in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Ross Leigh, the county’s parks director, said the new park is the first in the county parks system to make everything accessible to everyone.

It will include a rubber surfaced playground, like the one in Smothers Park downtown.

There will be musical instruments, Leigh said, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and swing.

“Chairs can roll onto the swing and sway back and forth,” Leigh said.

A large shade umbrella will cover the playground to keep it cooler on hot days.

An ADA-compliant restroom building is also scheduled for the park, Leigh said.

In October 2019, the state announced the grant, which is for $75,000 to be matched with $75,000 from the county.

The work was originally scheduled for 2020.

But Leigh said the Land & Water Conservation grant requires a review by Native American tribal leaders to ensure that the work won’t be on sacred tribal lands.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tribal leaders didn’t meet as often in 2020, he said, thus delaying the work.

The 66-acre park on Fairview Drive opened on Sept. 7, 2007, as primarily a soccer complex.

But it has been adding more amenities since then, including a spray park.

“It’s popular,” Leigh said. “It’s an oasis surrounded by some of the largest subdivisions in Daviess County.”

The county plans to seek bids for the work next week.

Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said earlier, “This playground is designed so that children, no matter their ability, can enjoy the playground and be able to play with their peers. It is exciting to have the new playground next to the spray park, which is also all inclusive.”

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

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