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Old 09-07-2018, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky Proud
1,013 posts, read 1,698,018 times
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https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/...217876665.html


I have been hearing "Rumors" of this for several months how and this is the first public announcement about "giving away" State property, in this case State Parks and Historical Sites, that I could find. In the case of Levi Jackson State Park 990 acres (I was told it was 880 acres), it's close to where I live and use. The City of London recently annexed the park into the City. While I can see potential improvements to the park I'm having mixed emotions, both legal and ethical concerning "giving away" any State property not just parks. Rumor has it, the State is willing to give away any State Park or Historic site that doesn't have "Resort" status. Any thoughts?



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Old 09-07-2018, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky Proud
1,013 posts, read 1,698,018 times
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Thus far 21 views as of right now...and no reply, no opinion. Did anyone actually read the article? According to the article, some folks are concerned this is being done with out public or legislative input. Well, I can only assume at this point no one cares either way. Ignore what I had to say just read the article.



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Old 09-08-2018, 06:40 PM
 
12,006 posts, read 11,065,701 times
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I care. Thanks for calling my attention to this.

I was aware that there was a sealed bid public auction of many items belonging to various state parks a few years ago at Waveland, a historic home park on the edge of Lexington - I wound up with a lot of things, many of which had been donated to the parks.

Items sold at this auction, which included two days for inspection and bidding, included everything from furniture to a woven basket for a hot air balloon, Victorian chandeliers, vintage clothing, tools and much more. Some items may well have been purchased for White Hall by Beulah Nunn, who was devoted to that project...most of the clothing was from Waveland. However, I was told that the items came from state parks all over Kentucky.

Apparently various employees, not necessary knowledgeable about antiques or history, did the culling - it was not clear what if any guidelines were used or it the items were officially deaccessioned, and it appears from what I know from an acquaintance who needs to remain anonymous for obvious reasons that many of the items were NOT officially deaccessioned from at least one of the parks.

As far as I know, this auction was not listed online, nor was there a catalog online or in print. The classified ad in the local paper was tiny and it was only by chance that I saw it. I do not know if ads were placed in other area newspapers. Lots were numbered but there was no description of the items next to the numbers.

Items were displayed outside, with fragile 100+ year old garments hanging on cheap metal clothes-hangers suspended from lines strung between trees. Items sold for a pittance, as few people knew the auction was happening. I wound up with far more than I had expected, due to lack of bids - I was then an antiques dealer and had bid with the idea of reselling my purchases - I made the cost of the items plus a profit very, very quickly via resale and still have far more than I need on hand.

I also donated a few things whose provenance was attached to the Kentucky State History Museum - whose staff had been given no notice of the auction and had no idea it was occurring. They were happy to receive what I gave them but extremely frustrated that they had been left out of the information loop, apparently due to some personal conflicts among employees of the two agencies.

This story never made the news. I told my friends about it, though, and they were all shocked at the haphazard way in which the sale was conducted - and the items treated.

I participate in traditional dance and am fortunate to live in Lexington and close to Berea, a mecca for traditional dance. As a dancer, I have long been cognizant of the significance of Levi Jackson State Park, until very recently the home of an annual folk dance weekend sponsored by Berea College. But a few years ago, the park ceased all maintenance on the rustic (VERY rustic - quite Spartan) cabins adjacent to the group camp house, which was rebuilt following a fire which destroyed the original about 20 years ago, so the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend sadly is no more..

But the significance is not just or primarily the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend, which lasted for close to fifty years - it's the extremely well-known, rollicking and very popular "Levi Jackson Rag", composed many years ago by English dance composer Pat Shaw specifically for the Berea Country Dancers and inspired by the large room in that original rustic camp house.

It was a large open pine-paneled room with a wonderful wooden floor, two stone fireplaces - and two floor to ceiling posts which were incorporated into the figures of the dance, which became an instant hit and is now known world-wide and danced somewhere on at least a weekly basis. It was due to the input and efforts of the dance community in Kentucky and our friends elsewhere who came to Kentucky to dance that the replacement camp house also was built with a wooden floor, ideal for dancing.

At one time, just prior to the burning of the original camp house, local traditional dancers discussed applying for a historic marker to be placed in front of the Levi Jackson State Park camp house because of Pat Shaw's famous "Levi Jackson Rag", which you can see danced on YouTube (some videos - and some dancers - are a lot better than others). This never occurred, but after the new camp house and restroom facilities were built, little to no maintenance was done on the unheated neighboring cabins, which held rows of bunkbeds and not much else. So the facility was no longer ideal for anything other than day use.

The facility was previously booked by different groups for most weekends during three seasons of the year. There is also natural outdoor amphitheater adjacent to the camp house, with a small stone stage and a natural bowl where folding chairs can be placed for programs and performances. I am sure the state does not make what it once did, as it now is day-use only, in reality if not officially, and the fees received by the state are obviously less.

Penny-wise and pound-foolish, it seems.

With the lack of maintenance, popularity dropped, and eventually the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend ceased to be, though Berea offers a dance weekend around the same time (traditionally, the last weekend in September).

But much of the charm was being in the scenic and historic park, with like-minded friends from not just central Kentucky but from neighboring states, for a weekend getaway with great live music, singing, dancing, delicious meals, and after-parties in those rustic cabins where music and dance would continue far into the night and memories were made.

If the state expects the public to use its parks, they must be maintained, and that costs money. The public pays taxes. Why are our taxes not spent to preserve and protect the parks' assets, both physical and historic, as this is clearly in the public interest and to the benefit of the public? Why did the state sell state park property to the highest bidder, and fail to advertise such sale adequately or sufficiently vet the items which were sold? Why were heavily used cabins belonging to the public neglected so severely that they can no longer be safely used?

In whose best interest do Kentucky's parks exist? Who is advocating for the parks and the people??

I could of course, ask the same questions about our nation's nationally owned public lands and resources, which are similarly imperiled.

Thanks for alerting us to this situation, Hogsrus. I hope all who are concerned will contact the Kentucky Department of Parks, whose supervised publicly-owned properties have always been a shining jewel in Kentucky's crown, and ask a few hard questions. We also need to tell our like-minded friends about these proposed sales and divestments, and encourage them to speak up and ask for whose benefit this is being done - and why, especially why now.

I am glad today's Lexington Herald-Leader had an article about this, and found the readers' comments most interesting - and all in agreement with my own concerns about this apparent quiet change of policy and practice, which is certainly legally questionable.

(The wooded, hilly land which is now Levi Jackson State Park was donated to the state and named for an early judge - in addition to the camp house, it contains a rare part of Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road which is still a footpath through the woods (most existing parts of the Wilderness Road are paved now) and a pioneer cemetery of a group of early would-be settlers who were ambushed beside the Wilderness Road by Indians at the campground, plus a group of early log cabins which were moved to the park to form an outdoor museum of pioneer life. There is also McHargue's Mill, a water operated gristmill which operates in season, picnic facilities, playgrounds, a swimming pool, a campground, and a riding stable. Few small towns would be able to adequately maintain such a park, though it's good that the city of London (which is really a largish town, not a city) has expressed interest in the park, which is heavily used by local residents for reunions, sports, picnics, and other events.)

Levi Jackson, Waveland, and Kentucky's other beautiful and historic state parks need to remain state owned and operated, and more investment of money and educated and informed attention needs to be paid to them.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 09-08-2018 at 06:57 PM..
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky Proud
1,013 posts, read 1,698,018 times
Reputation: 1123
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
I care. Thanks for calling my attention to this.

I was aware that there was a sealed bid public auction of many items belonging to various state parks a few years ago at Waveland, a historic home park on the edge of Lexington - I wound up with a lot of things, many of which had been donated to the parks.

Items sold at this auction, which included two days for inspection and bidding, included everything from furniture to a woven basket for a hot air balloon, Victorian chandeliers, vintage clothing, tools and much more. Some items may well have been purchased for White Hall by Beulah Nunn, who was devoted to that project...most of the clothing was from Waveland. However, I was told that the items came from state parks all over Kentucky.

Apparently various employees, not necessary knowledgeable about antiques or history, did the culling - it was not clear what if any guidelines were used or it the items were officially deaccessioned, and it appears from what I know from an acquaintance who needs to remain anonymous for obvious reasons that many of the items were NOT officially deaccessioned from at least one of the parks.

As far as I know, this auction was not listed online, nor was there a catalog online or in print. The classified ad in the local paper was tiny and it was only by chance that I saw it. I do not know if ads were placed in other area newspapers. Lots were numbered but there was no description of the items next to the numbers.

Items were displayed outside, with fragile 100+ year old garments hanging on cheap metal clothes-hangers suspended from lines strung between trees. Items sold for a pittance, as few people knew the auction was happening. I wound up with far more than I had expected, due to lack of bids - I was then an antiques dealer and had bid with the idea of reselling my purchases - I made the cost of the items plus a profit very, very quickly via resale and still have far more than I need on hand.

I also donated a few things whose provenance was attached to the Kentucky State History Museum - whose staff had been given no notice of the auction and had no idea it was occurring. They were happy to receive what I gave them but extremely frustrated that they had been left out of the information loop, apparently due to some personal conflicts among employees of the two agencies.

This story never made the news. I told my friends about it, though, and they were all shocked at the haphazard way in which the sale was conducted - and the items treated.

I participate in traditional dance and am fortunate to live in Lexington and close to Berea, a mecca for traditional dance. As a dancer, I have long been cognizant of the significance of Levi Jackson State Park, until very recently the home of an annual folk dance weekend sponsored by Berea College. But a few years ago, the park ceased all maintenance on the rustic (VERY rustic - quite Spartan) cabins adjacent to the group camp house, which was rebuilt following a fire which destroyed the original about 20 years ago, so the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend sadly is no more..

But the significance is not just or primarily the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend, which lasted for close to fifty years - it's the extremely well-known, rollicking and very popular "Levi Jackson Rag", composed many years ago by English dance composer Pat Shaw specifically for the Berea Country Dancers and inspired by the large room in that original rustic camp house.

It was a large open pine-paneled room with a wonderful wooden floor, two stone fireplaces - and two floor to ceiling posts which were incorporated into the figures of the dance, which became an instant hit and is now known world-wide and danced somewhere on at least a weekly basis. It was due to the input and efforts of the dance community in Kentucky and our friends elsewhere who came to Kentucky to dance that the replacement camp house also was built with a wooden floor, ideal for dancing.

At one time, just prior to the burning of the original camp house, local traditional dancers discussed applying for a historic marker to be placed in front of the Levi Jackson State Park camp house because of Pat Shaw's famous "Levi Jackson Rag", which you can see danced on YouTube (some videos - and some dancers - are a lot better than others). This never occurred, but after the new camp house and restroom facilities were built, little to no maintenance was done on the unheated neighboring cabins, which held rows of bunkbeds and not much else. So the facility was no longer ideal for anything other than day use.

The facility was previously booked by different groups for most weekends during three seasons of the year. There is also natural outdoor amphitheater adjacent to the camp house, with a small stone stage and a natural bowl where folding chairs can be placed for programs and performances. I am sure the state does not make what it once did, as it now is day-use only, in reality if not officially, and the fees received by the state are obviously less.

Penny-wise and pound-foolish, it seems.

With the lack of maintenance, popularity dropped, and eventually the Levi Jackson Dance Weekend ceased to be, though Berea offers a dance weekend around the same time (traditionally, the last weekend in September).

But much of the charm was being in the scenic and historic park, with like-minded friends from not just central Kentucky but from neighboring states, for a weekend getaway with great live music, singing, dancing, delicious meals, and after-parties in those rustic cabins where music and dance would continue far into the night and memories were made.

If the state expects the public to use its parks, they must be maintained, and that costs money. The public pays taxes. Why are our taxes not spent to preserve and protect the parks' assets, both physical and historic, as this is clearly in the public interest and to the benefit of the public? Why did the state sell state park property to the highest bidder, and fail to advertise such sale adequately or sufficiently vet the items which were sold? Why were heavily used cabins belonging to the public neglected so severely that they can no longer be safely used?

In whose best interest do Kentucky's parks exist? Who is advocating for the parks and the people??

I could of course, ask the same questions about our nation's nationally owned public lands and resources, which are similarly imperiled.

Thanks for alerting us to this situation, Hogsrus. I hope all who are concerned will contact the Kentucky Department of Parks, whose supervised publicly-owned properties have always been a shining jewel in Kentucky's crown, and ask a few hard questions. We also need to tell our like-minded friends about these proposed sales and divestments, and encourage them to speak up and ask for whose benefit this is being done - and why, especially why now.

I am glad today's Lexington Herald-Leader had an article about this, and found the readers' comments most interesting - and all in agreement with my own concerns about this apparent quiet change of policy and practice, which is certainly legally questionable.

(The wooded, hilly land which is now Levi Jackson State Park was donated to the state and named for an early judge - in addition to the camp house, it contains a rare part of Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road which is still a footpath through the woods (most existing parts of the Wilderness Road are paved now) and a pioneer cemetery of a group of early would-be settlers who were ambushed beside the Wilderness Road by Indians at the campground, plus a group of early log cabins which were moved to the park to form an outdoor museum of pioneer life. There is also McHargue's Mill, a water operated gristmill which operates in season, picnic facilities, playgrounds, a swimming pool, a campground, and a riding stable. Few small towns would be able to adequately maintain such a park, though it's good that the city of London (which is really a largish town, not a city) has expressed interest in the park, which is heavily used by local residents for reunions, sports, picnics, and other events.)

Levi Jackson, Waveland, and Kentucky's other beautiful and historic state parks need to remain state owned and operated, and more investment of money and educated and informed attention needs to be paid to them.

Thanks Mr Creek that was a great description of Levi Jackson. I just "assumed" everyone knew about Levi Jackson. But, I have a couple of questions about the situation. I wonder if there were any stipulation's on the deed back in 1931, when the park was given to the State by the Levi Jackson ancestors, which might have stated if the park became anything other than a State Park it goes back to the Aires. I know that to be a fact concerning property that some Courthouses set on as well as Churches.That could be the reason for the park retaining "State Park" status. But, on the other hand, the City of London, if I read correctly will drop the "State" and just call it the Levi Jackson Wilderness road Park.


Another question...what will happen to the JM Feltner 4-H camp which maintains 182 acres of the park property as a 4-H camp? The camp is operated by the UK college of agriculture and unlike Levi Jackson is well maintained and managed. The camp serves 35 Counties and is one of (I think) only four in the State.


Having lived near and around Levi Jackson all my life I have seen the lack of management at the park through the years but, that is probably due to lack of money to operate on among several other reasons we might talk about later.




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Old 02-11-2019, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky Proud
1,013 posts, read 1,698,018 times
Reputation: 1123
Committee to study donation of Levi Jackson State Park | City of London, Kentucky


With the States excuse of not having enough money to maintain the park, and then come up with 37 Million dollars (for other parks), sounds like it wasn't about money at all, it's about ??????. Nearly 1000 acres and most of it prime property.

Anyone?
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