Refreshments were served at the open house of the Event Barn at Mahr Park Arboretum on Friday.

Mahr Park Charitable Trust announced Tuesday that they will transition to a traditional role of a trust regarding the growth and development of Mahr Park Arboretum.

“They did notify us that they will be leaving the property by the end of September and going more to a traditional trust arrangement with the city, which is what they were set up for in the beginning,” said Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton.

The decision was made following a strategic planning process led by Luke Schmidt, president of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, a consulting firm based in Louisville. The process included interviewing local community leaders to gain valuable insight into how the Trust can best support Mahr Park Arboretum and its future growth and development, according to a release from the trust.

“They have been an intricate part of the early development of Mahr Park and contributing,” Cotton said. Mrs. Mahr left funds for the development of the park, and that is what the trust’s role is to make sure that those funds are expended for that development.”

Cotton said prior to this transition, the trust was more involved in the development planning of the park and was more hands on for facilitating the park development.

“Since then, the city has taken more of an active role,” Cotton said. “We have a director, Ashton Robinson, out there full time. She is taking on the role and lead of the facilities and overseeing the development of Mahr Park.”

Cotton also said the trust had an employee hired for that work.

“Everything was going through the trust and now it is going through the city,” said Cotton. “The goal is still the same.”

Moving forward, Mahr Park Charitable Trust Co-Trustees Barbie Hunt and Desiree Eddington, Vice President and Trust Officer at Old National Bank Wealth Management, will take on the customary roles of a trust, which include continuing to manage investments, providing oversight of trust fund expenditures, and distributing funds for the benefit of the charitable purposes expressed by Dr. Merle and Glema Mahr in their trust documents.

“Since Glema’s passing in November 2009, I have taken an active role in the development of the Mahr farm into a park and arboretum,” said Hunt. “Because of my love for Glema and deep respect for the Mahrs, I wanted the park to honor their unique and generous gift and be a treasured destination within our community and region.”

According to the release from the trust, Development Coordinator Donna Stricklin has been employed by Mahr Park Charitable Trust for five years and worked to help open the park, recruit and train volunteers, develop educational programming and create fund development opportunities.

“Donna and I want to express our deepest gratitude to the community, civic organizations, volunteers, state and local agencies, friends, donors, educators and park guests who have supported our efforts. Because the Mahrs loved this land and set up the Mahr Park Charitable Trust to support their dream, we hope the community will continue to value this gift and the legacy of the Mahrs for generations to come,” said Hunt.

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