Fayette County

Lexington council gives go-ahead for demolition of Berry Hill, Constitution pools

Lexington's Urban County Council gave the parks department permission on Tuesday to demolish the Berry Hill and Constitution park swimming pools. Demolition would probably happen sometime in June.

A skateboard park will be built at Berry Hill and a softball field at Constitution.

The projects have been included in the capital improvements budget for parks and recreation for fiscal year 2013, said Brian Rogers, deputy director of enterprise in the parks department. Specific discussion of those projects will take place in May and June as council sets priorities.

"If all goes well, we could start construction by the end of this summer. Our estimates were anywhere from 18 months to two years for completion of both those projects," Rogers said.

Council member Jay McChord said softball leagues and skateboard fans routinely travel out of town to play at upgraded facilities. "At both of those locations, we are hopeful the parks will become destination parks," Rogers said. With the addition of a third multipurpose baseball field at Constitution, that park will be able to run statewide tournaments. "We're excited about that possibility," he said.

Demolition for the two pools will cost about $120,000. Construction is estimated at $237,000 for the softball field and $365,000 for the skate park. Private funds are expected to defray construction and maintenace at both.

A group called Friends of the Skatepark has formed and has already started fundraising. Council member George Myers said the group is fairly confident it can raise $100,000 to $150,000 to go toward construction. Council member Kevin Stinnett said the local girls' softball league will underwrite most of the maintenance for the softball field.