Save Otter Creek Park – The Friends of Otter Creek Park Blog


Friends of Otter Creek Park: We’re Gettin’ Organized! by joelhunt

Perhaps you’ve noticed by now that we’re a little bit biased, but I’ve gotta say, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way tonight’s Friends of Otter Creek Park meeting was conducted. A big thank you goes to Patsy Bowman, Angie White, and Kevin Martin who helped organize the meeting and kept it running smoothly. Another thank you goes to Louisville Metro Council Members Bob Henderson and Doug Hawkins, and Legislative Aide Renay Davis for attending. Most of all I’d like to thank everyone who showed up, spoke their mind, and got involved! We had a packed house tonight, I’m guessing at least roughly 100 more attendees than our meeting on December 22nd, and we accomplished quite a lot in just 2 1/2 hours.

Speaking of which, let’s get down to the business of recounting the business of the meeting. As you can see from the agenda posted below (link here), we needed to get a few organizational aspects accomplished to move the group forward towards our ultimate goal, which is the reopening of Otter Creek Park. I feel that we were able to accomplish tonight’s agenda in a positive, democratic and transparent way wherein anyone who wanted to speak, could. Our first Resolution (which passed by a near-unanimous voice vote) involved the official naming of the group, which is now known as Friends of Otter Creek Park. Here’s the entire text of the resolution:

Resolved, that the organization generally known as Friends of Otter Creek Park — which includes many of the concerned citizens of Louisville, Jefferson County, Hardin County, Meade County and many other municipalities — be officially named Friends of Otter Creek Park in all correspondence, including interviews with the media, liaisons with government, volunteering and fundraising efforts, and general business.

Our second Resolution (also passed by a near-unanimous voice vote) was a declaration of exploration of the possibility of Friends of Otter Creek Park incorporating as a non-profit organization. There are differing views on whether this is the right course of the group — and again, I am happy to say that I feel that those views were fairly represented — but I felt that this resolution would be a start in pointing a possible way forward for the group to conduct business. As far as I consider it, this resolution is non-binding, and merely a suggestion. Here’s the text of Resolution Number 2:

Resolved, that the Friends of Otter Creek Park be legally incorporated as a non-profit organization registered with the State of Kentucky and the Louisville Metro government, and that its business be conducted in a transparent and open manner. Additionally, the officers of Friends of Otter Creek Park shall solicit legal advice on the matter of incorporating by no later than January 31, 2009, with the goal of formerly incorporating by February 1, 2009.

With those two important resolutions passed, we then set upon the work of electing Officers of Friends of Otter Creek Park, in order to have a solid team of individuals leading the group’s efforts. I’m pleased to announce that the following people were elected to head the Friends of Otter Creek Park board: Donnie Basham, Joel Hunt, William Mudd, John Oliver, Bill Ralls, and Angie White. For now, Officers can be contacted through saveottercreekpark@gmail.com.

(Newly elected Board Chair John Oliver addresses the crowd.)

Then, we elected the positions Secretary and Treasurer. Dave Baker (who also is an administrator of the Save Otter Creek Park Facebook group) was elected Secretary, and Kim Lucas was elected Treasurer. A motion from the floor to establish these positions as three-month terms was voted on and accepted.

Next, we voted on a number of Sub-Committee Groups to help steer the actions and outreach of Friends of Otter Creek Park. The four groups from the agenda — Petitions and Volunteering, Public Relations and Media, Non-Profit and Charity Outreach, and Government Liaison — were accepted by voice vote, and three suggested groups from the floor — Legal Issues and Liability Policy, Friends of Otter Creek Park Bylaws, and Special Interests — were adopted. IMPORTANT: If you signed up to volunteer for one or more of these groups, you will be contacted by phone or by email in the next few days! Additionally, we didn’t get any volunteers for the Legal Issues and Liability Policy group, so if you have an interest in this group but haven’t volunteered, PLEASE DO SO!

The last item, but certainly not the least, on the agenda was a public forum for your questions, comments, and concerns. What followed was a lively and positive discussion from all corners of the room, covering a wide range of aspects of what we’re ultimately all meeting for: to reopen Otter Creek Park! I thank each and every person who stood up to speak their mind.

Additionally, I’d like to thank the members of the news media who attended the event: Stephen George from LEO Weekly (read his story here), WLKY 32 (who ran a piece on tonight’s 11 O’Clock News), The Local Weekly (read their story here), and anyone else I might have missed. Also, you can read Brian Tucker’s excellent summary of the night on his always-great Valley Report blog here: http://valleyreport.blogspot.com/2009/01/its-official-friends-of-otter-creek.html.

So with tonight’s success in mind, we still have a lot of work to do. Friends of Otter Creek Park will next meet on Monday, January 26th, again at the Southwest Government Center at 7 PM. I expect that a major part of the agenda will be to hear ideas on what each volunteer sub-committee can do. Additionally, I hope to present to the group research concerning many aspects of OCP’s closure, including the liability costs associated with entrance fees, the Metro Council budget process, and much more.

In the meantime, here’s what you can do:

  1. VOLUNTEER — If you missed the meeting or didn’t get the chance to sign up for a volunteer sub-committee, email me at saveottercreekpark@gmail.com, and we’ll get you started.
  2. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT US — we need as many people involved as possible! If you were able to get blank petition forms, get your friends and family to sign up! And I promise we will have the petition available for downloading off this site in the next few days.
  3. WRITE YOUR COUNCILPERSON AND MAYOR ABRAMSON— Unbelievably, there are still some Friends of Otter Creek Park supporters who have not contacted their Louisville Metro representatives. But it’s never too late! Here’s how:

Metro Council
601 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-1100
Address postal mail to individual Councilmember.

http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroCouncil/ – This site links to individual Councilmembers.

Thanks again everybody, and we’ll see you on the 26th!

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1 Comment so far
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I attended the meeting but had to leave before the end for another engagement. I am very proud to be a member of this group and the effort that is being put forward to get OCP reopened as quickly as possible.

I live in St. Matthews and work at Appliance Park. I want everyone to know that there are people, not just in the southwest of Louisville, who use OCP and want it to re-open and stay open all year round. Please don’t feel that people in the east end don’t use, or don’t care, about OCP. There is no other park in the Metro that compares to OCP for it’s rustic and natural beauty. E.P. “Tom” Sawyer and Long Run Park are both very nice parks in the east end, but they just don’t have that natural and unspoiled feel about them. When your in OCP, you know that you are in God’s country.

I remember going to camp at OCP when I was a child. At that time I didn’t know where OCP was located, I just knew that I was in awe at the majesty and beauty of the park. I remember repelling in the quary and off Van Buren over looking the river. I remember spelunking in General Morgan’s Cave. I remember sleeping in the cabin bunk beds. I remember singing and hearing ghost tales around the camp fire. Those are memories that can never be replaced, and they were made at OCP.

I had not been to OCP for years because I figured it would just always be there. I took for granted that I could come back any time. I visited OCP about a week before they closed the gates, and I’m glad that I got the opportunity to see it again, unadulterated, before the city decides to shed it, or massacre it with development.

I have sent an email to Joel volunteering to be on one or several of the sub-committees. I certainly will do what-ever I can do, including petitioning people in the east-end, and working with special interest groups, to get OCP reopened as quickly as possible, and to insure that the gates are never locked again!

Comment by M. Drury




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