LUCASVILLE- Growing Lucasville Opportunities (GLO) has become a household name to many in Scioto County over the past few years, as they’ve taken a grassroots approach to community development of the Lucasville area, focusing on seasonal events, bringing back the drive-in for limited time engagements, and the development of the first ever community park their home has ever had.
Recently, they not only attracted the eyes of the community, but the leadership at Kubota.
After being awarded $100,000 from the organization to develop their Lucasville Community Park, they began a community voting campaign to secure an additional $100,000 that the organization said would ultimately fall on the community to determine if they win.
After weeks of voting, the organization secured the top spot out of five other communities, including Milwaukee. They won by 11,000 votes, with an estimated 65,000 total votes.
“It is unbelievably overwhelming; we can’t really describe how we feel, it just became addicting to vote and reach out to more people to step up and help,” GLO’s Kenny Boldman explained. “It really became important to people. This was a great way for people to support us, even if they don’t have anything to personally give.”
The money raised will go directly to their park development, which will ultimately see a covered shelter, construction of an amphitheater, playground, and scenic multi-use path through the woods. They’ve raised nearly $500,000 to date, including the $100,000 already received from Kubota. The shelter house that’s already been built cost the organization $165,000. They’re now using the $340,000 they have to award a bid to build the amphitheater.
“We never thought we would ever win the first $100,000, but then the idea of winning the second $100,000 seemed like a massive uphill battle. It’s been a whirlwind, but we feel great to have the trust and support of so many,” Boldman said. “We especially appreciate Marcie Barlowe, from the County, who believed in us from the start and encouraged us to apply.”
Kubota spoke highly of their underdog participant, explaining, “Lucasville is a two stop-light community located in the great state of Ohio; a small town with a big heart and community spirit that shines. Every hometown needs a community gathering space, and that is what this project is all about: building a community park for the residents to gather, socialize and celebrate. A newly formed non-profit, Growing Lucasville Opportunities (GLO) applied for a 2023 Kubota Hometown Proud grant and, together with their local Kubota dealer Ricer Equipment, we are proud to announce them as a 2023 recipient. This $100,000 grant will allow them to build an amphitheater in the new park for local groups to gather and perform.”
Now that the competition was a success, the group received the additional $100,000 up for grabs. They will be able to start either a playground or multi-use path for phase three of the construction.
“We’re unsure of which we will go with first,” Kenny Boldman of GLO said. “There is another grant we’re currently working with, and our decision will ultimately be based on what grants are available and what makes the most sense moving forward.”
The multi-use paved path will be a quarter mile, six-foot-wide, and will go into the wooded area of the property. It will be handicapped accessible and welcoming to wheelchair users.
“It’s very beautiful woods and will be a very nice way for people to walk, get exercise, and enjoy nature,” Boldman said.
GLO started in 2019 with smaller activities, events, and functions in mind, but quickly grew.
“One of the things we quickly realized was that Lucasville has never had a community park or greenspace. When Covid was running rampant, and things began closing, about that time, we realized how bad the need was. Restaurants were closed, and then, when reopened, had no inside seating,” Boldman said. “So, people had to get food and sit in their cars, because there was no picnic shelter or anything like that. At that, we took on the park project. We’ve pursued grants and other fundraising to make this happen. In two years, we’ve raised half a million dollars, which is very nice, but it only gets us about halfway to our goal.”
GLO is happy to receive the support of Kubota and the community and will be moving forward on completing their fundraising goals over the coming years. The park will total an estimated one million dollars, which is double the original plans, but that also includes improvements to the design. They currently have $600,000, which has been raised over two years.
To celebrate the success, Lucasville will be welcoming the community to a party and cook out at 12:30 p.m. at the Lucasville Masonic Lodge, where they will celebrate their success with hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and sodas. After the cook out, they will walk to the park and break ground on the amphitheater, as well as the veteran’s memorial.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.