HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/3/12) – The Mahr Park Planning Committee met early this morning in Mayor David Jackson’s office to review proposals for the yet to be established Mahr Park in Madisonville.
“I think it is a real important decision, a real great opportunity for the city of Madisonville, for us to be taking the next step in development of the Mahr Park,” stated Mayor Jackson.
Barbie Hunt, Trustee of the Glema Mahr Estate, shared the Mahrs’ vision for the land with the planning committee for the park.
“It was very much their dream that the community would enjoy this beautiful land as much as they did,” said Hunt. “It really is about the love of the land. We want to create a place where people can really enjoy the natural beauty that is there. The opportunity for our community to make a place where people can walk, relax, just enjoy nature and a lot of green space is really, I think, one of the challenges for us because the modern park is full of ‘stuff’. In a small town most people don’t have an opportunity to walk in the woods, so that was their vision, from the time they bought it,” Hunt explained.
The committee hopes to create a space that is a refuge for people who need a place to get away and just enjoy themselves. Hunt mentioned that one of the things they had looked at when going over the proposals was at how much concrete the companies had each poured.
“We’re not looking for concrete, those are negative numbers,” Hunt laughed.
“We have a task ahead of us that will impact this community for years to come,” said City Administrator, Mike Franklin. “In the 30s, when they actually purchased the land that the Madisonville City Park is on, Beverly Waddle was the mayor. They referred to the purchase as ‘Waddles folly’ because the city, at that time, wondered what in the world they would do with all that acreage out there. This is going to be a slow process, just as that was, but we are going to make the right step, every step of the way.”
During the course of the meeting, Hunt spoke of an article she had read that discussed the challenges for smaller towns. Specifically, the challenge that exists because there is a desire for people to feel connected to one another, and they don’t always have the means to go about it. With the technology trend causing people to feel more and more isolated and disconnected from each other, one of the challenges of small communities is to create a place for people to connect and come together.
“I really believe that parks do that in a way that few things can,” explained Hunt. “So, to create an environment like that is our challenge and I think we’ve got some great companies that have done that through these proposals we are looking at today.”
The committee reviewed eleven proposals submitted by Bowman Consulting, Brandstetter Carroll, Carman, CDP Engineers, Dalhoff/Thomas, Environs, HFR Design, Human Nature Inc., Lose & Associates, Mesa and MSI/KKG.
After review, the task was then to select the top four proposals that would continue on to the next step in the selection process. After looking the proposals over, the committee decided on only three proposals that would advance in the process of ultimately deciding upon a company to further the Mahrs’ vision for Mahr Park.
The three companies that made the cut were Brandstetter Carroll, CDP Engineers and Lose & Associates.
The committee was set to advise the firms and is now in the processes of coming up with further criteria for the proposals. The companies will then be expected to take the detailed criteria and better tailor their submissions to what the committee is looking for. The committee plans to have another meeting to further discuss criteria, create a list and then send those lists to the three remaining companies under consideration.
“I could not imagine New York City without central park,” remarked Bill Jackson, Madisonville City Engineer, who received recognition at the meeting for his hard work thus far on the project.
“It enables the people who live there; it enables them to live there, because they can go to a green space,” pointed out Hunt.
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