The City of Paducah just opened its latest attraction - the Fountain Avenue Health Park. It has been developed on city-owned property located at 421 North 13th Street in the historic Fountain Avenue Neighborhood. The park is bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, 13th Street, Madison Street, and 14th Street.
This park originally consisted of a large open area, the City’s Community Garden, and the Paducah Rotary Playground - which was constructed in June 2016 by a bevy of volunteers.
No one was happier than Paducah Parks Director Mark Thompson about the Phase One completion. “It will become a wonderful backyard for everybody,” he told me. “It’s going to help people get active, grow food, and play all day if they want to.”
The parks plans include an outdoor health park with an open field, a 10 foot wide and 1/3 mile long walking trail, inclusive playground, an expansion of the community garden, outdoor fitness equipment, and picnic areas.
Now that Phase 1 is completed, fundraising efforts will begin for Phase 2. The City will be applying for more grants as well. Future plans include the addition of a spray pad, an obstacle course and public restrooms. A plaza area is planned for farmers’ markets, concerts and other events. At the end of the park, facing Martin Luther King Drive, housing is planned.
The theme of the park is healthy living. It will provide a venue for local schools, the Parks Department, and other agencies to educate the public, especially youth, about proper diet and exercise.
The Paducah Rotary Playground is now back open too. City crews removed the temporary mulch surface and installed a rubberized safety surface.
The park is surrounded by a roughly 150 square foot area of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and is reserved for private reinvestment. It could be a mix of residential and commercial developments. Plans for a $7 million private housing development along two sides of the park have been suspended for now.
The city also retained property across 14th St. for future residential development, but the city hasn’t yet put out any requests for proposals.
While the site was already the home of the Community Garden, Thompson says that this one is bigger and better than ever. Top-notch soil was added and the garden has raised/elevated beds.
The garden plots are available for reservation. Reservations for plots must be renewed annually and extend the length of the growing season (April - October). To reserve a plot, you must fill out an application and pay the reservation fee. Call the Parks office for more information about reserving a plot in the Community Garden.
For more information about the Health Park or to find out when the grand opening ceremony will be, visit the city of Paducah's Health Park web page, call 270.444.8508, or visit the Parks office located at 1400 H.C. Mathis Drive.