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Health and Recreation Focus of Mason Fiscal Court

Marla Toncray

A presentation on Wald Park and another on community health were featured Tuesday during Mason County Fiscal Court.

Dr. Josh Owens, president of Wald Park Inc., gave commissioners an update on progress being made at the park in Maysville East End.

Owens said the park, which had fallen into disrepair, was purchased by a group of people who had an interest in doing something meaningful with the historic park for the community. The goal is to have a site where children can participate in organized baseball, softball and soccer league play. He said the park can serve as an economic stimulus to bring in outside teams for league and tournament play. The park will also be used as a home field for St. Patrick School teams, according to Owens.

The group which purchased the park has formed a nonprofit corporation and has undertaken fund-raising to finance renovations and upgrades to the 12-acre site including drainage improvements, parking space, lighting, concession areas, restrooms and storage facilities.

Currently the organization has raised nearly $450,000 in donations, pledges and grants, Owens said. With that in hand, work is expected to begin within the few weeks on Phase 1 which includes site work. Phase 2 will include building construction and Phase 3, lighting.

Owens asked the county to consider making a donation to the organization and commissioners agreed, promising $5,000. The county will also provide some in-kind work for the project, hauling dirt and/or gravel, County Judge-Executive Joe Pfeffer said.

Buffalo Trace Health District Executive Director Allison Adams also addressed the court, updating commissioners on where the county stands healthwise and how it can move forward.

"It takes a community partnership and a countywide effort to move forward healthwise," Adams said.

Adams pointed out the health of the community is composed of many agencies and organizations as varied as parks and recreation, police and fire and schools and neighborhood groups along with more traditional components like the health department, doctors, hospitals and dentists.

"If they all come together they can influence health... make positive changes in our community's health" she said.

As an example, Adams said one of her focuses as executive director has been to increase the number of babies in Mason County who are breast fed as opposed to bottle fed. Breast fed babies are less likely to develop ear infections, have better reactions to immunizations, are less likely to develop chronic conditions, such as type I diabetes or asthma. Promotion of breast feeding through the BTHD has significantly increased the percentage of babies in the county who are breast fed, Adams said.

"I wanted to start doing something instead of just having a conversation about it," she said.

Adams also cited obstacles to good health outcomes such as smoking, obesity and drug use.

In the end, Adams said improving community health is a joint effort that everyone needs to support.

"These changes don't come easy," she said.

Finally, Gene Weaver of the Maysville Mason County Industrial Development Authority updated the court on his agency and its efforts, along with the city and county, to entice new industry to the area.

In other business, commissioners:

-- Approved reports from the Sheriff's Department, Animal Shelter, Road Department, Landfill, Recycling Center, Solid Waste, Detention Center and Treasurer.

-- Approved the sale of surplus property.

-- Agreed to donate up to $250 to match the city's donation to an Eagle Scout project to place a Little Free Library at the Maysville-Mason County Recreation Park.

-- Reappointed Mike Lewis to the Maysville Mason County Industrial Development Authority.

-- Held the first reading of an ordinance concerning the interlocal agreement for the Mason County Arts Council.

Ledger Independent is online at http://www.maysville-online.com

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