The fulfillment of a dream…
In May of 1994, Boone County dedicated a new baseball and soccer complex called Central Park. The facility included a 2.2 mile walking / biking trail that went through the woods and wound around all the ball fields. During a long range planning session in 1996, the Boone County Horticultural Advisory Council and UK Cooperative Extension Agents saw the need to document and preserve Boone County’s natural resources. They also saw a need to create a place dedicated to growing and studying the trees and shrubs of landscape horticulture. This needed to be a place that could be enjoyed by schools, community groups, garden clubs, as well as private citizens as they found out which landscape trees and shrubs grow well in our local climate.
A unique partnership was created between the Boone County government and the Boone County Cooperative Extension District to form the nation’s first arboretum within an active recreation setting. Mr. Richard Ammon of Ammon Landscape drew the planting design, and seven local nurseries came together with hundreds of volunteers to bring the vision into reality.
Boone County Arboretum was dedicated in May of 1999, and it continues to grow today. Plant maintenance was originally contracted out to a local landscape company, but we now have a staff of six people dedicated to the Arboretum. Our volunteer group, Friends of Boone County Arboretum, continues to grow in both membership and activity within the Arboretum. We currently have over 1100 trees and over 1700 shrubs, all mapped with global positioning technology. Children can walk from the playground directly into the Children’s Garden and be immersed in a very colorful, hands-on experience with kid-friendly plants. On another side of the playground, they can find their way out of an ornamental grass maze. Our 3 acre native Kentucky grassland grows thicker each year. Excitement also grows each year as the Arboretum becomes a treasured asset in our community.