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Roadside Park on 55 given to City of Columbia

"The City has the resources and the manpower to keep it nice and protect it as an asset for our community..." - R.P.

By Linda Waggener

Richard Phelps, former President of the Columbia Adair Chamber of Commerce, has continued to take the Roadside Park on Hwy 55 South, just outside of Columbia, KY as a personal mission.

Ellen Zornes, Executive Director of the Chamber, credited him as the force behind Park maintenance for many years and said that's why she first spoke with him about the idea to give ownership of the Park to the City as budgets have tightened and the Coronavirus Pandemic has cut available help.

Looking back, Phelps said, "Many volunteers have given of themselves to maintain the Roadside Park over the years and in the recent past the City has given a thousand dollars a year to help with upkeep.

"I'm very excited that the City has it and is going to take care of it. The City has the resources and the manpower to keep it nice and an asset for our community," he said.

He said it was important to have available for families needing a place to stop and take a break.

He recalled during his leadership of the Chamber that it was Senator Vernie McGaha who found a $25,000 surplus, enough for that park plus the Little League and Industrial Park.

With that amount, and many volunteers, much was done. Some who came to mind as having contributed were Lewis Garrison who sent equipment and help, Gaddie Shamrock, Magistrates and Judge Jerry Vaughn.

He remembered that the playground equipment was possible with a grant from Cellular One phone company, working with Sue Stivers and matching monies.

Some years later, with help from Nick Hazel, Phelps secured a grant through the Lake Cumberland Area Development District which made it possible to get the walking trail.

The gift to the City of Columbia stipulates only that if the City ever has to sell it, twenty-five percent of the amount will be given back to the Chamber of Commerce.

The City Council voted unanimously at the July meeting to accept the Park and maintain it within the Parks and Recreation department.

This story was posted on 2020-07-30 07:30:50
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Roadside Park entrance on Hwy 55 South

2020-07-30 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener,
The Roadside Park on Hwy 55 South can be entered from Morrison Road and from State Park Road. The Columbia Adair Chamber of Commerce gave it to the City of Columbia so it can be maintained within the Parks and Recreation Department. In the background are the walking trail and playground equipment and picnic shelters.

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Roadside Park now property of City of Columbia

2020-07-30 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener,
Ellen Zornes, Executive Director of the Columbia Adair Chamber of Commerce, stands beside the sign at the Roadside Park on Hwy 55 South just outside of Columbia. She and former President Richard Phelps made the decision together to give the park ownership to the City of Columbia.

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Roadside Park story research leads to a look back

2020-07-31 - Columbia, KY - Photo from archives by Ed Waggener in 2007.
When Richard Phelps was thinking back over leaders who have made a difference in the Roadside Park history, this photo came up in the research. In 2007 Ed Waggener covered the annual meeting and wrote, "Fourteen Presidents of The Columbia Adair County Chamber Of Commerce were present for the November 20, 2007 meeting at Cranmer Dining Center on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College.

Seated, from left: Past presidents Edgar Troutman, Randy Nelson, Mary Allender, Edwin Russell Cundiff.

Standing, from left are: Richard Phelps, Charles Barnes, Dr. Ronald Rogers, David Martin, June Parson, Richard Lee Walker, Brenda Williams, Sue Stivers, George Thomas Keltner, and the current President, Darrell Overstreet."

The incoming President to follow Darrell was announced to be Donna Stotts who served for the following two years, and since that time, the office has been held by Roger Meadows, Brandon Thompson, Brenda Mann, Ellen Zornes and the current Chamber President is Pamela Hoots.

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