Fiscal court hears presentation for improvements to Riney B Park

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Jessamine County Fiscal Court heard a presentation and approved several items at a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The court’s first speaker was Kate Irwin with the Jessamine County Public Library.

She is with a board- made up of library staff and members of the public- intending to bring unstructured natural play areas to Riney B. Park. Irwin’s team originally became interested in unstructured play after visiting Lexington’s Arboretum- which has a large, gated-off unstructured play area for children.

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Unstructured play is taking away typical playground structures and adding in more natural elements for children to play with, climb, and create games around.

Irwin said studies show that it is a powerful tool for children’s overall development of social skills, cognition, physical fitness, problem-solving abilities, and more. She said it can help children become community-minded and environment stewards who care about the health of the world around them for their futures.

This unstructured play would include three separate areas of play at Riney B Park. The first area is more structured with obvious play structures. The second area will include more rocks and stumps and will be even more unstructured. The third and final area will be towards the back of the property and will be the most unstructured, allowing children to enjoy the outdoors.

Irwin has already received approval from the city of Nicholasville, and Commissioner Dexter Knight will join the board to help make the project come to fruition. But Riney B. Park is owned by both the public library and the county, so county approval is essential. Irwin said her team will look into grants to fund the play areas.

The fiscal court did not give outright approval since they will need more specific terms, but tentatively approved Irwin and her team to move forward on exploring pricing and ideas for the additions to Riney B Park.

Also, the fiscal court approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Jessamine County EMS and the Jessamine County Health Department.

According to Jamie Goodpastor, director of EMS, this MOA will allow EMS and the health department to start a mobile community health program offering counseling and support services to patients that EMS identifies as having substance use disorders and are seeking treatment. This is being paid for by a grant through the Kentucky state government.

In other news:

• The court approved a maintenance recommendation for HVAC preventative maintenance to go with a bid from Fayette Heating and Air.

• The court also approved bids to replace the flooring of the Jessamine County Animal Shelter.