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Park Background Timeline

Scroll through a history of how the park came to be what it is today

2001

Huntertown 1986

The Woodford County Fiscal Court applied for and received two Community Development Block Grants to purchase properties and relocate residents in the Huntertown community due to groundwater contamination of wells and other unsafe, unsanitary conditions from lack of sanitary sewers.

2003-2006

Map of Huntertown - Block Grant

41 properties were purchased with the CDBG grant, 15 residents relocated, and 23 structures torn down.  The property was basically left untouched after final demolition of remaining structures, and the two lanes into Huntertown were blocked off and locked.

2012

Third Rock Project Proposal Map

This project emerges from work completed during a 2012 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant proposal by Woodford County government to develop Huntertown’s 38 acres into an educational nature park. Third Rock Consultants (based in Lexington) completed the initial work on the grant, proposing a passive interpretive park that would tell the story of the African American hamlet.  When grant funding did not come through, work on park development came to a halt.

2015-2016

students education

Faculty and students from Woodford County High School undertook a research project on Huntertown, presenting their findings to Woodford County Fiscal Court and supporting the development of an interpretive passive community park on this land. The 9th grade students researched Huntertown’s history and studied the wetland environment in classes taught by Sioux Finney (WCHS Social Studies) and Mary Beth Rouse (WCHS Science), aided by Mona Romine (WCHS Library Science).

Summer 2018

Huntertown Poster

Development of a Huntertown Community Interpretive Park was identified as one of the top priorities in 2018 “On the Table” sessions conducted by the Woodford County Community Foundation (under the auspices of the Blue Grass Community Foundation).

September 2018

Sioux and Donald

An ad-hoc committee of 15 interested citizens begin to meet monthly to implement the project and advance the vision of an interpretive community park at Huntertown.  The committee includes former residents of the Huntertown community and a variety of citizens from all walks of life.

November 2018

Woodford Fund award

Woodford County Community Foundation awarded a $2300 grant to the Huntertown History Project to record oral histories, gather digital archives of documents, photographs and artifacts in order to preserve the history of Huntertown. Retired teacher Sioux Finney worked to conduct research and develop a traveling 3-panel display which was exhibited throughout the county.

  • Research to date includes the following:

    • Deed research at Woodford County Courthouse and examination of over 100 property transfers

    • Oral history interviews with former residents and a gathering of 10 former residents on the Huntertown site shared priceless memories and provided key information concerning location of the Huntertown Colored School, residences, stores, hog pen and wells

    • Huntertown Artifact Event at the Woodford Public Library (April 2019) where former residents and neighbors from the surrounding farms gathered to reminisce and renew friendships

    • Compilation of 30 Huntertown family genealogies, thanks to the work of committee member Marti Martin; We continue to share these genealogies with former residents.

    • Digital scans of nearly 500 historic photos and archival documents to date

Maps showing approximate property lines of original property owners at Huntertown (1871-1884), thanks to the expertise and in-kind work of committee member Kenneth Johns, Woodford County GIS Coordinator.

November 2019

Potential Habitat Zones

The Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Department agreed to accept the 38 acres of Huntertown into the park system, solidifying plans to create a passive green space community park on the east end of the Versailles urban service corridor that will honor the African American heritage of the former community.

February 2020

Huntertown Black History Month

Huntertown History Project traveled to Woodford County Middle School, Woodford County High School and Huntertown Elementary during Black History Month in February 2020. Committee member (and retired Social Studies teacher) Sioux Finney taught a series of primary source lessons to 20 different classes using archival documents and photos.

March 2020

UK Landscape Architecture

The Woodford County Community Foundation awarded a $2500 grant to the Huntertown Park Design Project.  Coupled with a matching $2500 from the Woodford County Fiscal Court, the Design Project is a collaboration with University of Kentucky Landscape Architecture program to create a master plan for Huntertown Community Interpretive Park. Dr. Jayoung Koo and 16 students from the UK Landscape Architecture Design Studio class spent the summer and fall semester developing detailed concepts for the park master plan. Even with the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, students were able to make site visits, interview former residents and meet with community leaders in virtual design workshops via Zoom.  

May 2020

Brenda Jackson

The Kentucky Historical Society approved our application for an Historical Highway Marker honoring the Huntertown community. Brenda Jackson, former Huntertown resident and committee member, submitted 110 pages of documentation. The Historical Marker dedicated at the 150th Anniversary Celebration in August 2021.

August 2020

One year prior to the 150th Anniversary of Huntertown – the HCIP committee launched the Partners for the Future Campaign, to raise funds for the historic marker, park development and the 150th Anniversary Celebration. We also debuted the first of several videos about Huntertown produced by Casey Cooley, a committee member. To date, the campaign has raised over $45,000 for park development and historic interpretation.

July 2021

July 21 UK Grant award
  • The final master plan design was completed by UK Landscape Architecture, and approved by the Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Board and the Woodford County Fiscal Court

  • A new partnership with faculty at the University of Kentucky led by Dr. Jayoung Koo (Landscape Architecture) was awarded a Sustainability Challenge Grant ($42,000) to accomplish the following objectives: 

  • Continue historical/cultural research, interpretation, and representation of Huntertown’s cultural memory/heritage/legacy as a community of color.

  • Inventory and assess the underlying environmental conditions such as local stormwater quality and quantity (flooding and flow of water) within the site’s vegetative and soil/geological context 

  • Design and install interpretive wayfinding signage in late 2022

  • ​Create digital media storytelling that will be displayed and connected on mobile app

August 2021

Huntertown Dedication

Over 300 people attended Huntertown 150th Anniversary Celebration and Park Dedication on August 28-29, 2021, featuring speakers, musicians, a “basketmeeting picnic” and a community worship service on Sunday morning. The weekend marked the official opening of Huntertown Community Interpretive Park - open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.

October 2021

Park entrance sign
  • Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws for Friends of Huntertown Community Interpretive Park approved as well as its mission:
    • To support and promote the development of the Huntertown Community Interpretive Park as a living museum and a public park; The Friends will help mobilize resources to support projects that will assure the impact of the park on the quality of life of current and future generations

  • Woodford County Fiscal Court submits a grant (total $70,000; local share $15,000) to the Kentucky State Energy and Environment Cabinet to clean up an illegal dump on the site that is contaminating the existing pond and increasing flooding

  • WKYT TV features segment on 6:00 pm news, produced by Huntertown descendant Darnell Crenshaw (watch here)

Turkey Trot Nov 21

November 2021

  • The first Huntertown Glen Turkey Trot 5K starts and ends at the HCIP historic marker
  • HCIP awarded a $2500 grant from Woodford County Community Fund for the Huntertown Interpretive Signage project (design and install 3 interpretive signs) in collaboration with UK Landscape Architecture and Ruggles Sign Company

February 2022

  • The illegal dump grant for $70,000 approved

  • The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation features Huntertown on its Blue Grass Trust DeTour program and the Louisville Courier Journal has a front-page article on African American Historic Markers that features Brenda Jackson and the Huntertown marker

April 2022

  • The Fiscal Court approves a $50,000 line item in its budget to support the development of Huntertown Community Interpretive Park

  • IRS approves Friends of HCIP as a 501c3 nonprofit organization; With this notification, a checking and savings account is established in the name of the Friends of HCIP

  • Huntertown segment premieres on KET Kentucky Living program on PBS, produced by Woodford County native Tamia Jackson

May 2022

Pavilion rendering

Woodford County Fiscal Court submits a grant for $500,000 to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to build the main pavilion, handicap accessible waterless toilets and a parking area with a paved sidewalk to the pavilion.

June 2022

Juneteenth event
  • Huntertown Community Interpretive Park receives the 2022 Community Impact Award from the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort

  • Huntertown Community Interpretive Park receives the 2022 Barbara Hulette Award from the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, recognizing "efforts in the preservation of Central Kentucky's history, heritage, built environment, landscape, archeological resources, sense of community or significant endeavors"

  • We shared the Huntertown story at Midway and Versailles Juneteenth Festivals

July 2022

Pollinator Garden
  • The Woodford Master Gardeners proposal to establish a pollinator garden at the HCIP was approved by the Parks and Rec Board and work begins

  • Illegal Dump Grant work is underway on site

August 2022

Riney-B Railroad history hike

A guided “history hike” on Huntertown, the Riney-B Railroad and railroad porter Jerry Williams were a part of Woodford County Railroad Days weekend.

Fall 2022

UK Students
  • Continuing partnerships with the University of Kentucky include emphasis on protection of wetland environment and development of bioswales to control stormwater flooding in areas of the park

  • Interpretation of the Huntertown story continues – writing text for interpretive panels and production of signage with a partnership between UK Landscape Architecture, Ruggles Sign and Friends of Huntertown Community Interpretive Park

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