Mayor Jim Gray and Cheryl Norton, president of Kentucky American Water, signed the deed Monday transferring ownership of Jacobson Park and Lakeside Golf Course to the Urban County Government. It now is the outright owner of the 386-acre park around the reservoir, land the city has leased since 1968.
Under a 2005 agreement with the city, the company was required to hand over the park in 2011.
Before accepting ownership, the city did an environmental assessment of the park, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said. Kentucky American gave $35,000 to improve the narrow entrance.
Kentucky American will be allowed to continue to use Jacobson Reservoir as a backup source of water. The city must keep the land as a park; it cannot be sold or used for another purpose.
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In 2005, Lexington was divided over the issue of ownership of the water company. The future of Jacobson Park was a key issue in the debate over whether the city should acquire Kentucky American through court-ordered condemnation.
In exchange for the city dropping the condemnation issue, Kentucky American agreed to give the park to the city. If the city ever should acquire the water company by condemnation, it would have to pay Kentucky-American for the park.
The value of the land is an estimated $20 million.
In 1972, the park and reservoir were dedicated and named Jacobson Park for former Kentucky American manager Ernest E. Jacobson.
The water company said in December that it acquired the property that is now the park and golf course from private landowners from 1906 to 1923 for $72,450.