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Fayette parks master plan updated

Equestrian and walking trails. An archery range. A pasture for riding lessons. A Scout camping area. A pavilion ideal for company picnics, summer camps and weddings.

Those are some of the features proposed by Chris Camp, president of Lose & Associates of Nashville, in the parks master plan for Hisle farm, a 280-acre tract of land in rural Fayette County on Briar Hill Road that was donated to the city for use as a park.

Lose & Associates, a recreation planning and design firm, completed the city's first parks master plan in 1998. It has recently completed an update of the master plan, including recommending a reorganization of the city parks department.

The Urban County Council on Tuesday unanimously referred the parks master plan update and the Hisle farm master plan to its planning committee for further study.

The top funding priorities in the next two years should be the development of Cardinal Run Park North, Hisle farm and a youth football complex with a minimum of four fields.

The master plan also recommends constructing an extreme sports complex, adding playgrounds and upgrading aquatic facilities in the next two to five years.

The Hisle master plan proposes building more than 10 miles of trails on the farm that could be used by pedestrians and equestrians.

Hisle would be a secondary equestrian facility in Lexington, Camp said. The city is turning away people from its equestrian programs at Masterson Station because there isn't enough space or horses.

Hisle would also be an ideal location to hold summer camps. Current camps turn children away because of space restrictions, Camp said.

On the administrative front, the parks master plan recommends reorganizing the parks department by hiring an additional two deputy directors so the director has fewer direct reports.

The current deputy director would oversee planning and support services. One deputy director would oversee recreation. The other would oversee enterprise functions such as rentals, golf and aquatics.

In all, the master plan recommends streamlining the department by creating eight new positions and eliminating 12 existing positions. The net effect would be a savings of between $150,000 and $200,000, said Jerry Hancock, the city's director of parks and recreation.

The master plan also recommends developing parks planning districts.

The city has three distinctive types of parks, Camp said: urban, suburban and rural.

The city should add additional parks maintenance facilities.

Maintenance employees spend a lot of "windshield time" driving from park to park because there are only two maintenance facilities, Camp said.

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