Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - Updated: 2:08 AM
Cadiz City Council approved a resolution last Tuesday that would allow for a joint parks and recreation department in Cadiz and Trigg County.
The vote, which passed unanimously, adopted an agreement to implement a six-member board to oversee activities throughout the county that would fall under the umbrella of parks and recreation, including summer youth sports activities and the possible construction of a proposed multi-use facility designed to house baseball and softball practices and other community events.
The board would consist of three representatives appointed by the Cadiz mayor and Trigg County judge-executive. One appointment from each must be a representative of the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission.
The tourism commission voted in January to commit 25 percent of its restaurant tax collections -- including the 5 percent previously given back to the city of Cadiz for collection and disbursement -- to fund the parks department should it come to fruition. The city, as its contribution, agreed to pay a parks director to run day-to-day operations and duties outlined by the parks board. Jeff Hunter was hired for the role last month.
Cadiz City Councilwoman Susan Bryant said she was excited about the partnership and what it may yield.
"I just think this is a major step in things that we've talked about for years," Bryant said. "To have a group that is going to be concerned about improvements â ¦ all over the county. Things that we can do all over the county, not just in one place. You've got to start in one place, but you hope to move on â ¦ as they hope to move on I would hope to see other things added, too. So, I'm thrilled."
The council also voted to keep the structure of the Trigg County Ham Festival committee unchanged this year, after committee members appeared before the council to show support for booth chairwoman Melissa Noel. Last month, Councilman Kyle Cunningham raised concerns on the festival's future and expressed an interest in finding ways to generate profit from the annual event.
Ham festival committee member Pam Alexander addressed rumblings that have surfaced in the time since.
"It has been brought to our attention â ¦ that are some on the city council that would like to replace Melissa Noel," Alexander said. "â ¦ We, the committee members of the ham festival, feel that this would be a great mistake. The booth chairman position is one of the most important and one of the most difficult jobs of the ham festival. We feel that Melissa Noel does an excellent job in this position, working well with the vendors to ensure we have a wide variety of booths at each festival. We feel it would be a mistake to replace her."
Others spoke their support, not only for Noel, but for the volunteer-committee as a whole. Members spoke to their desire to see the festival succeed, but noted the lack of volunteers to carry the torch. It's something Cunningham said he hoped would grow to produce more, younger volunteers in the coming years to help alleviate the burden carried by those who have been working on the event for years.
"The younger people the newer ideas, newer suggestions with the way that festivals have evolved over time -- I know that change can be scary at times, but it can also be a good thing," Cunningham said. "So, I think that along with that, with the evolution of the festival, I think with the younger generation coming in and learning and carrying this on will also help the longevity of the festival as it evolves."