State Parks Commissioner Gerry Van Der Meer said he and the Parks Department will work to find funding to restore several facilities at Cherokee Park. The park was Kentucky’s only African-American park from 1951 to 1964.
L.G. Mimms, nephew of the first park manager, said the park held a lot of special memories for his uncle and for him.
At the news conference, which was held at the former cafeteria and dining hall, Friends of Cherokee Committee Member Dr. Nancy Dawson said there are a lot of plans for Cherokee Park.
The dining hall is currently being renovated, as are two of the cabins, the swimming area, and other facilities at the park.
Also on hand at the press conference were Friends of Cherokee Park President George Sholar, Pennyrile State Park Manger Peter Bowles and Kenlake Manager John Rittenhouse.
“As a young man, I went to Cherokee Park and we had a great time,” said Sholar. “ It gave me a sense of pride; I thought I was in heaven, because Blacks couldn’t attend the parks that were designated for Whites,” he said.
In Kentucky’s last fiscal year more than $600,000 was allocated for the renovation of Cherokee Park, Rittenhouse said, adding that although the park closed its doors more than 50 years ago, many of the physical buildings still exist.
In January, the park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rittenhouse said.
Cadiz City Council Member Regenia Wilkerson Jasper, serves as a member of the Friends’ group.
“I didn’t know that the park existed until recently,” Jasper said. “I believe that this project can help improve diversity in the region, as well as help to boost the economy throughout western Kentucky.”