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Parks and rec board chooses not to seek permanent director

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BY AUDREY LEWIS | N-H Reporter
Following the resignation of previous Owen County Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Hamilton the leadership of the Parks and Recreation Program is being redesigned.
In the past a director was hired and paid to preside over an appointed board. Now that responsibilities are being adjusted, the parks and recreation board have decided to assign a director to each individual program rather than bring in a new overall leader.
Currently serving on the board is Ann Carter, Bob Osborne, Joyce Dempsey, Jenny Cull, Larry Dale Perry, and Shannon Cook. The board currently has an empty position they are awaiting the fiscal court to appoint. Directors for individual sports are Chad Carter over basketball, Fred Scroggins over baseball and softball, Tara Hawkins and Chris Dempsey over football and Morgan Bond over gymnastics.
In previous years, the parks and recreation board has been responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the Owen County Fairgrounds. In order to do so, parks and recreation received an average of $20,000 per year from the county and $10,000 from the City of Owenton according to Owen County Judge-Executive Casey Ellis. While the money was provided for the entire program, the majority of the money was put toward the fairgrounds.
A recent decision has transferred the responsibility of the fairgrounds from the parks and rec program to the Owen County Public Works Department.
“Instead of paying that money out we found it was going be a cost saver to the taxpayers to handle that through our public works department,” Ellis said.
The Public Works Department is now working with Owen County Fair Board to maintain the park and is currently outlining a contract to assign responsibilities.
Owen County recently received an infrastructure grant for $1.3 million dollars to be spent on the fairgrounds. The money is being geared toward new waterlines in hopes of lowering maintenance cost, according to Ellis.
“(The parks and recreation program) operates independently which was kind of my goal in steering them away from the maintenance of the park so they could concentrate more on the programs.”
In the way of programs, chairman Ann Carter disclosed, “The struggle is with facilities because we have to share with the school; obviously the school is always prioritized.”
Ellis added that Owen County is undergoing a comprehensive plan that will offer new restroom and press box facilities in hopes of allowing the parks and rec program to expand as much as they can to the fairgrounds for any sports that can be offered outdoors.