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A new community park and library branch could be coming to Goshen thanks to a generous donation by the North Oldham Lions Club.
The North Oldham Lions Club proposed a 24.75-acre land donation off U.S. 42 to Fiscal Court July 19.
In the proposal, land would be allocated by the Lions Club to Oldham County Parks and Recreation and the Oldham County Public Library.
The proposal was approved in closed session and will be placed on the Fiscal Court agenda in the coming months.
The land was originally donated by Edith Mary Clarke Belknap in 1971 in memory of her deceased husband, William B. Belknap.
Galen Clark, Lions Club secretary who has been at the forefront of this project, said the Belknap family has a long history of library support in Oldham and Jefferson County.
According to Clark, they were involved in the first bookmobiles in the area.
“As I understand it, the Belknap family is very happy with the library donation as it is what Edith Belknap and William Belknap would have strongly supported if they were still alive,” Clark said.
Since Belknap’s donation the North Oldham Lions Club has maintained the property as a public park.
The land has been used by groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, Oldham County Youth Football, North Oldham Middle and High School and Little League baseball teams.
In recent years, maintenance of the park and buildings has become a burden on North Oldham Lions Club members and has detracted from their charitable giving.
The Lions Club pursued rezoning five acres of the property to commercial use. This would allow for a business lease arrangement to use the clubhouse as a party and catering facility, similar to its current use.
During the rezoning process, discussions with the library and parks and recreation began.
According to the proposal, 18 acres of land, including the existing clubhouse building and annex building, would be donated to parks and recreation.
Six acres would also be donated directly to the public library.
The library hopes to build a new facility for that area of the county to replace the inadequate Mahan Branch building in Goshen.
According to Director Susan Eubank, the Mahan facility has been used for 25 years, and was rent-free until two years ago.
The library now leases the building.
“We just don’t have any space in there,” Eubank said, “We’ve had to stop a lot of our children’s programming.”
She also mentioned how the two-story facility is not accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Eubank said the Mahan library staff does a great job of working with the existing building, but she is excited about the proposal for a new facility.
“We definitely want to build a new library on that land,” she said.
Eubank said the hope is to create a facility similar to the La Grange Library Branch, completed in 2009.
“The gift of the land is a major component,” Eubank said, “We’re just so delighted because it will be in a public park.”
Mahan Branch Manager Rhonda Burks said people have come in asking when the library was going to expand for years.
“We have wonderful patrons here,” she said and a new facility will allow for more opportunities to provide programs to the community.
The North Oldham Lions Club also hopes to dedicate a section of the new library to the visually impaired. Clark described how the Lions are known for their eye charity work.
Clark said the proposal has enormous benefits.
He said the donated land will hopefully make a new library branch possible, keep the same public park the Goshen area has known and loved, and provide two memorials to William B. Belknap.
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