Next to City Hall
Submitted by: Di Boyer
A downtown Main Street pocket park with a newly restored mural.
This beautiful and functional pocket park along our authentic 1890's Kentucky Main Street acts as a community gathering area and is quite attractive. While very small in size, its visual and economic impact is very large. It is a small park that lies right next to City Hall and pays tribute to the community that brags about the many Kentucky Governors that have come from Versailles, KY. The locals appreciate it, and tourists admire and photograph it. The best part...this park was built with local volunteer effort about ten years ago, and has been used as a great example for a Main Street pocket park because of its design and how well it is maintained. It is featured in the Kentucky Streetscape Design Guidelines publication. But to date, it has never been nominated or received accolades for design or functionality. It is time.
What Makes Governor's Park a Great Place?
Governor’s Park works because this pocket park transitions our pedestrians (locals, shoppers, workers, tourists) to a lovely parking area and offers a shady and inviting space to sit a spell. You will find users enjoying lunch or the morning coffee and a newspaper. Graduating high school students like to use the restored historic Coca-Cola murals for a backdrop for senior portraits. This park is situated to get you easily to Main Street or City Hall. It lets the user park their car behind City Hall to attend meetings, and offers the evening diner the invitation to walk across the street to eat an ice cream cone outdoors while still being able to wave to a neighbor walking or driving by. When people visit downtown to consider opening a new business or to live, the park is always mentioned as an asset to the town for its charm.
It's small, well lit, and perfectly placed on Main Street, even though it is a bit unexpected. You will find young and old alike enjoying this peaceful park. Seasonal plantings lend interest in all four seasons. Because of the location on Main Street, it is our 24-hour billboard for downtown. This park says, downtown Versailles is a great place. Thanks to public works and the Main Street program, this park’s first impression has proven to be economically important. Local companies include photos of the park in corporate presentations and publications about the community when attracting people to move here.
A very large flag pole and American flag stands guard over the park daily always giving us that small town "sense of place" and patriotism in good times and in bad. The restoration of an old Coca-Cola mural has inspired us to become the Mural Capital of Kentucky. Many other mural restoration projects followed after it was completed.
This park is used often for dining, reading, walking, or just relaxing. Its location keeps you in the downtown hustle bustle, but the murals, plantings, trees, and brick make it feel like a cool oasis even on the hottest of Kentucky summer days. Recently the park was used when all of the Kentucky Main Street managers visited. We held a meeting and photo opportunity there so that other downtown professionals could see the potential of a park in a very intimate and unexpected place.
This is a wonderful place for tourists, residents, or people who work downtown that like options for dining or relaxing. There is also a very large park downtown one block away that people use for walking and recreation, but depending on the need, Governor's Park is where you can have more heart to heart quiet chats. I've been told it is a popular place for wedding proposals. It is a friendly place, and admirers love the blooming part of the park. Green space that is visible to Main Street is such an asset. The park also boasts Kentucky Dry Stone stacked columns, which are so much a part of the Kentucky landscape. Residents love the park, and when I tell my teen ‘I'll pick you up at the park,’ I know I'll find her sitting at one of the nice tables reading her library book in our safe, beautiful "Mayberry-like" community - at Governor's Park.
History & Background
This park may be way too small to be considered for any of your categories and awards, but please consider this...bigger is not always better. People are choosing small-town downtown living again for the intimacy of things in scale. This little gem of a park is in perfect scale to a downtown community population of 7,000, where the central business district is fortunate enough to be thriving with churches, our library, our courthouse, and our citizens who are active and involved in maintaining this quality of life.
Di Boyer, Main Street Manager/Renaissance Coordinator
Woodford County Chamber of Commerce: 859-873-5122