MY WORD: Parks could use your support

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By Clay T. Cottongim

Well as you know the end of 2013 is upon us, which means an end of another tax year. So who needs a tax deduction or would just like to give out of the goodness of their heart? Well, I have a great idea for you.

How about a gift to the Shelby County Parks Foundation! A non-profit 501c3 local foundation that supports your parks and nothing else?

Your parks needs some help to keep up with the trends in development and programming of parks and recreation, like our neighboring county park, 21st Century Parks, or also known as The Parklands of Floyds Fork in Jefferson County. Have you been down to see all the wonderful, 10-foot concrete bike and hiking trails they have put in? Or the beautiful building that hosts weddings, company and family gatherings that overlooks Floyds Fork Creek, just like we could have at Red Orchard Park overlooking Clear Creek?

21st Century Parks Inc. is a non-profit organization that have raised over $100 million to develop new parks and to maintain them from private donations, trust and endowments, with very little tax dollars involved.

Louisville started the Olmstead Parks that were originally out past the city limits but are now in the city limits of Louisville. The Olmstead Parks have been, are and will continue to be a big part of the Louisville community. These parks will be there for generations to come, for our

children and grandchildren to explore and enjoy with their families.

We can do the same with your help and our community working together.

Shelby County Parks Foundation is a 7-member board that was formed in November 2011. The board is charged with the promotion of local parks and recreation opportunities throughout Shelby County through donations, solicitations, bequests and fundraising from individuals, corporations and other foundations and groups.

The foundation works alongside the Shelbyville-Shelby County Parks and Recreation Board in all park development and programming planning.

With your gift Shelby County Parks Foundation will be able to develop even more and nicer athletic fields, expansion of the Clear Creek Family Activity Center with more fitness facilities, a gym and a children's nursery, as well as, developing a RV and primitive camping area at Shelby Trails Equestrian Park. Also splash pads at various parks, playgrounds for children and the Clear Creek Greenway master plan to develop trails and accesses along Clear Creek that has been in the works for years by the Clear Creek Trust but just has had no funding to complete the


This Greenway Project is just what the Parklands has done and we have attempted to do since about 1990.

Even a scholarship fund for underprivileged children to play sports and engage in other recreation opportunities is a real need in our community.

In addition, with your donation you can specify where you want your gift to be used or the foundation will put it to work as it sees best. There is so much that needs to be done and little

funding to do it all. Your park needs your help.

So if you are interested in setting up an endowment or even thinking of putting the park in your will or just making a good old cash gift, please contact me or the foundation chair, Terry Kay, at 502-633-5059. Or make your check to the Shelby County Parks Foundation and send it to 717 Burks Branch Road, Shelbyville, 40065.

We will be glad to sit down with you and discuss the future park needs and plans with you. So beat the date of Jan. 1 to get your 2013 tax deduction. Hope to hear from you soon and thanks for all your past support.


Clay T. Cottongim, former director of Shelby County Parks, is now a consultant to the parks board and foundation.