Sunday, December 31, 2000

Campbell gem now a bargain

County overcame price obstacles

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        ALEXANDRIA — In 1959 the Campbell County Fiscal Court, led by Judge Andrew J. Jolly Jr., proposed setting aside 600 acres of rural land for a public park.

        The park would feature a nine-hole golf course, a 134-acre fishing lake, a bathing beach, and a primitive camping area.

[photo] The 1,000-acre A.J. Jolly Park in Campbell County includes a golf course and a massive fishing lake.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        When funding became a problem, several changes were proposed to make the park self-supporting. One plan called for a 100-boat marina and a 250-room motel with a swimming pool. Another suggested a lodge, lakefront cottages and a small convention center.

        Eventually, the county issued $870,000 in 30-year bonds, and the groundbreaking of the Campbell County Public Park took placeApril 16, 1961. The golf course opened June 28, 1962, with Orville McAtee as the club pro and park superintendent.

        An earthen dam, built by the state, was the first step toward creating a fishing lake — with 15 miles of shoreline, including a 1,100-foot sandy beach and swimming area.

        In 1976, the park, renamed the A.J. Jolly Park, hosted the 24th annual Kentucky Governor's Cup hydroplane boat races.

        Today the 1,000-acre attraction has an 18-hole golf course, bike and horse trails, modern camping facilities, and baseball and soccer fields. Its 250-acre lake challenges catfish and bass fisherman while providing plenty of blue gill action for youngsters.

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, is published on Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer.

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