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New Crestwood park has endless possibilities

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By Glen Jennings

An historic property in Crestwood will soon find new life as a park.

Maples Park of Crestwood will have a groundbreaking ceremony on March 25 to celebrate the beginning of the first phase of construction.

“The intention of this first phase is to provide the infrastructure to get people onsite and start using it,” lead architect Gant Jones said. “It’s not going to have all the amenities that later phases will have, but we want people to get out there and participate in the park.”

The park, located near downtown Crestwood between highways 22 and 146, will repurpose property once owned by Vince Fanelli. The property is home to a set of historic buildings, including barns and a house, that will later be incorporated into the park. 

The $1.2 million first phase will provide for the exits and entrances, the trails and minor external rehabilitation for the buildings. The cost of later phases will largely depend on what is added during revisions. Crestwood Mayor Dennis Deibel said the expenditure would be worth it to bring a brand new attraction to Crestwood.

“We don’t have a park area in Crestwood,” he said. “It’s going to be the fact that we have open space that people can go in and enjoy the outdoors and the fact that we can hopefully use it for community functions.”

The city will pay for the project, but Jones said he hopes some of the costs can be paid through grants and a few have already been taken care of with donations.

The property was home to Fanelli and his wife, Mary Louise, whose father owned American Standard Plumbing. In 2009, Fanelli sold the 22 acres of land to the city with the promise that it would be used as a park.

“He was a prince of a fellow,” Crestwood Mayor Dennis Deibel said of Fanelli. “He’d gotten to where he went to Florida for seven or eight months a year, but he always came home to Crestwood and was interested enough to preserve that land, that he thought that was the best thing to do for his family and for the community.”

The first phase of construction will focus primarily on structural needs and opening the park to the community.

“It’s mostly getting people on the site,” Jones said. “We’re going to put in new parking lots, new entries and exits out of the park…We’re also going to provide a bathroom facility in the existing garage building and then new hard surface trails on one side and soft surface [on the other].”

Future plans will include more onsite activities.

“What we’re trying to get in is a playground and sprayground, an amphitheater and maybe additional parking,” Jones said. “In some of the responses we’ve initially heard, there’s a lot of interest in spraygrounds, there’s a lot of interest in the playground, and there’s a lot of interest in the amphitheater.”

Jones added that future features of the park would open the door for new possibilities in Crestwood.

“You can imagine the opportunities,” he said of the amphitheater. “You could have movies in the park or Shakespeare in the park or concerts, bluegrass or whatever. It could be something that in the future, as we have people participating and establishing the programming of the park, it could just take off.”

In addition to programming, the firm will also gauge community interest before deciding how to use the historic buildings on the property.

“They might be event space or space for small weddings,” Sarah Kopke-Jones, project landscape architect, said. “People have been asking for space for small gatherings, so that could be what these exterior buildings could be programmed for.”

Deibel said he hired Jones and his firm because he wanted to work with a local company when designing the park.

“They’re a stakeholder in this project along with the rest of the community,” Deibel said. 

He added that so far, he has been pleased with the project’s design.

“Gant and his team with Environs Inc. have done a great job to get us where we are today,” Deibel said.