After years of planning and construction, Madisonville’s newest park, built on an old farm, will open next month.
City officials say Mahr Park, a 265 acre complex, opens its gates on October 29th.
“You couldn’t imagine building a park out of a farm,” says Barbie Hunt of the Mahr Charitable Trust.
Where cows once roamed, people will soon roam by bike and canoe.
“What we’re doing is creating something that has a legacy for Madisonville,” Hunt says.
The new park is built on land donated nearly eight years ago by Glema Mahr, a Madisonville philanthropist. It includes trails, a lake for canoeing and kayaking, and other activities. Hunt knew Mahr. She says its focus on preservation and nature creates a lasting legacy.
“This was Glema’s dream, that people will come and enjoy the land as much as she did,” she says. “I believe as much as you did driving up here, that you still can’t help but go wow just driving in.”
While officials expect this park to bring in thousands of visitors each year, they also expect it bring much more to Madisonville. City Councilman Mark Lee says it could potentially help bring more jobs.
“A part of what industry is looking for when they’re looking at various places to plant new jobs is the livability quotion, the quality of life.,” he says. “To have a park like this along with a more typical park, like city park for instance, is just a huge asset.”
Officials say more features, including an ampitheatre, will be built in the future.
“I think she would be thrilled with excitement how the community got behind this park and how the city has supported it,” Hunt says when asked how Glema Mahr would react to the park. Mahr died in 2009.