Olive Hill, KY: Casey Park Conceptual Design
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Two massive floods in May and July of 2010 nearly destroyed Olive Hill, KY’s downtown area. Recovery continues but, according to many, parts of town are “full of ugly” with dilapidated/empty buildings, vacant lots, and a depressing loss. Even with a newly designated “Trail Town” initiative (a successful component of recovery), struggle is real. The Galaxy Project, Inc. is striving to establish a youth center with the primary goal being that youth become change agents in their community through volunteer services and direct involvement. The site of the former Cowden’s sewing factor on Railroad Street is a perfect opportunity to provide green space downtown, provide engagement opportunities, and stormwater runoff. This project, known as “Casey Park,” afforded a perfect, challenging, and high impact project for town beautification, KY nature appreciation, education of area youth, and is “expected to stir economic development for generations”. The Casey Park project is located on Railroad Street, parallel to Tygart Creek. Although many blighted buildings remain in town that reveal years of lingering flood damage and abandonment. The redevelopment of Casey Park could be a beautiful and beneficial boost to downtown. Casey Park has the potential to initiate positive change and kick start a larger conversation throughout the community about revitalization. Originally, the location of Casey Park held a long-standing sewing factory on 3.25 acres. Now, it is a large vacant lot, of 2.92 acres (a 0.33 acre portion was sold for the Olive Hill Fire Department training house). This plot will help fulfill flood compliance requirements and is within easy walking distance for horse trail riders, canoers, cyclists, and locals all ages. The property has additional flexibility by utilizing the adjoining OHFD training parking lot. The park could possibly boast botanical hands-on learning opportunities for students, provide tree/plant labels, unique local history signage, a meditation garden, natural fountain, wellness walk-path, and gathering area for larger groups. This would draw locals, regional schools, and potential tourists to grow business and move Olive Hill closer towards its goal of a beautiful tourism town.