Henderson County Parks & Programs

Mitzi Weber, Parks & Programs Director

As many of you know, communities are making great strides in getting our children active in the great outdoors and Henderson County is joining the mission. Growth within our county parks continues and will have a lasting benefit for future generations. We currently have 4 parks in Henderson County. Baskett Park in Baskett, Ky.; Charles Alexander Park in Smith Mills, Ky.; Donald “Hugh” McCormick Henderson County Fairgrounds & Freedom Park in Henderson, Ky.; Sandy Lee Watkins Park in Hebbardsville, Ky.; and a 5th will be developed in Niagara, Ky.

Baskett Park is located in the heart of Baskett, Kentucky and features a basketball court, a half basketball court, playground equipment, walking trail, and shelters for families to enjoy. The community also joined together to provide improvements to the softball field for the Baskett Recreation League and continues to grow each season.

Charles Alexander Park is a beautiful park, located in downtown Smithmills and provides playground equipment, a basketball court, shelters, and a walking trail. This community is known to come together and enjoy popcorn and a movie in the park or host benefits for the locals that may be in need of assistance; it is a family friendly community full of fun. The Smith Mills Lions Club is located just off of the property and takes special pride in caring for the park.

Freedom Park and the Fairgrounds Park are a combined area off of Airline Road, in Henderson. It is home to the giant “purple” dinosaur. It has a beautiful walking trail that surrounds the Donald “Hugh” McCormick Henderson County Fairgrounds. Many families enjoy this central location for reunions, birthday parties or just a day in sun. This Park is also home to the Farmer's Market which offers an abundant array of fresh produce in season. We have a new partnership with the Henderson County Fair Board and development in the area has been underway for over one year. In this time we have installed a basketball court, completed the concession stand and announcer’s booth, placed a new arena that is equipped to host rodeo’s and large horse shows, for our community, as well as visitors. Our wonderful partnerships with the many Horse Clubs in the community have begun to make this area quite busy during the warm seasons of the year. We are proud to have hosted the Kentucky High School Rodeo Association, Kentucky Junior Rodeo Association, Henderson Area Riding Club (HARC), Western Kentucky Saddlebred Association, and our local 4-H Horse Clubs and Livestock Clubs. In 2016 we will host the Illinois Tractor Puller Association (ITPA) for the first time in Henderson County.

Sandy Lee Watkins Park, in Hebbardsville, is a beautiful and growing passive recreation park. Though it is currently under construction the public is welcome to take a walk on the recently expanded walking trail or spend a day fishing and having a picnic! The park currently has a playground and 4 lakes, Lake Brittany Lake Penn, Lake Virginia, and Lake Davis. Lake Brittany will be handicap accessible upon completion; the first phase is complete and the 2nd phase will begin soon. Projects within this park are being completed through grants, there are two new activities calling Sandy Lee Watkins Park home, 3D Archery Range thanks to the generosity of Henderson’s own Chase Fulcher, and a Radio Controlled Flyer landing strip. Many exciting things are becoming a reality in this park! Future plans include a grass amphitheater, walking trail additions and a long term goal for an indoor expo facility with horse riding arena.

Niagara Park is undeveloped however will soon be an addition to the parks system and we are proud to say this park was made possible by members in the community. Work in this park will be made possible through grants and volunteers in the community.

Our county parks are an important part of developing our community. Please read the below excerpts and take a moment to visit the links regarding the benefits of urban parks:

National Recreation and Park Association Urban parks serve as critical public places for recreation and civic engagement, essential to quality of life in urban centers. Parks help provide solutions to a myriad of national and community issues: providing healthy places to exercise, managing storm water runoff and helping clean the air, catalyzing economic and community development, and providing safe, close to home recreation options.

City Parks Alliance High-quality parks also spur economic development by attracting homebuyers and boosting residential property values by as much as 15 percent, meaning greater wealth for residents and increased revenues for cities.

Additional information may be found in the following publications:
  • http://www.cityparksalliance.org/why-urban-parks-matter/economic-value
  • http://www.nrpa.org/About-NRPA/Impacting-Communities/
  • Also check out the Parks & Programs Facebook Page.