Group gains national attention fighting demise of Cherokee Park icon

Hogan's Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park on February 22, 2011.
Hogan's Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park on February 22, 2011.

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio | facebook

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Government is crafting its annual budget, with a series of meetings until mid-March. A local group wants to make sure that budget building doesn't let a local icon come tumbling down, and their push is gaining national attention.

Throughout the city, there are various projects, problems, or preservations that people want to see addressed each year.

A structure at Cherokee Park is one of them.

It's formally known as the Hogan's Fountain Pavilion.

"It's unique - there's really no other structure like this," said Lark Phillips of the group trying to save the structure.

It's often simply referred to as the "Tee Pee."

"At first it was a sentimental thing - several of us just couldn't imagine the park without and the more we've gotten involved in this process of trying to save it, we've gotten so much support from preservation groups that say it's a historical landmark," Phillips said.

In its nearly 50 years, the tee pee has been home to numerous community events, even including a wedding. That's just one of many reasons why this group wants to see the structure saved.

"It's hard to find anyone who hasn't spent some time celebrating an event or just using it on a regular basis. If you come by in the summertime, it's almost always occupied," Phillips said.

Phillips and her group have held fundraisers, sold tee shirts, and even won a Reader's Digest contest.

In all, they've netted about $21,000 over a course of the year they've been fighting to save the tee pee. It's about a fourth of the way to an $80,000 estimate they've received to replace the roof.

They hope it sends a smoke signal to city hall about this building's importance, at a time when the group says some leaders are in favor of tearing down the structure and replacing it.

"We're hoping that at this point the city will realize that this is an important structure to save and if nothing else at least get matching funds from them. We know they've done that in the past with other Olmstead projects so if that's the case, we're half way there," Phillips said.

The group plans to come out to some of the many community input forums on the Metro Louisville budget.

The first one takes place Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 pm at the Southwest Government Center at 7219 Dixie Highway.

Other meetings public-input budget meetings include will be held February 28 at 1:00 pm at the Shawnee Golf Course community room; March 1 at 1:00 pm at Metro Hall; March 8 at 7:00 pm at the East Government Center; and March 12 at 1:00 pm at the Central Government Center.

Meanwhile the group says they will continue to fight -- with or without government support. They've created a Facebook page with more than 1,500 followers. For more on their fight, click here.

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