Rena Baer and I started Friends of Jacobson Park in late 2022.  We operate under Friends of the Parks, Fayette County 501(c)3, organized by former Councilmember Sandy Shafer. Rena is a professional editor and I am a landscape architect. Our love for Jacobson Park allowed two perfect strangers to align and form a service based volunteer organization to support Jacobson Park.

Our hope is to find ways to involve other community volunteers in not just helping keep the 216-acre park clean and the wildlife safe but also to hold fun events to support improvement/educational projects.  

Our first event was an Earth Day Cleanup in April, which drew 194 volunteers from our community and we removed nearly 2 tons of litter from Jacobson Park, the lake, and Lakeside Golf Course. We also removed 15 huge piles of invasive species that were growing at the base of the Loblolly Pines in the Pine Forest. LFUCG, Kentucky American Water, Hickman Creek Conservancy and Bluegrass Greensource sponsored us for that event — providing materials, t-shirts, and donations to make it possible for us to be successful!

Shortly after that in April, we applied for a Kentucky American Water Grant to restore half an acre of Lakeside Golf Course for a new riparian zone to improve water quality in the reservoir.  We were awarded $5,000 from Kentucky American Water, $5,000 from Columbia Gas, an LFUCG Grant, and are currently working with several other potential donors.  This half acre will become a new green infrastructure project that plants native species that absorb excess nutrients and pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reaches our drinking water in the reservoir.  The project will also create new habitat as the mowed golf course grass is restored to a new native planting area that will provide habitat for animals, and create a new pollinator garden.

Our most recent effort installed in June — the yarn bomb tree art exhibit — is the result of a LFUCG Grant awarded to Friends of Jacobson Park.  We then worked with a local knitting group called, The Tree Sweater Gang who volunteered their time to knit and crochet for endless hours to create the pieces needed to cover the tree.  They began with sketching out the tree measurements. Each group member designed their pieces to all work together to be installed on the tree.  hey added some fun embellishments to the tree, like butterflies and birds for the entertainment of the children attending Free Friday Flicks and Camp Kearney at Jacobson Park. The Sweetgum tree is located near Shelter 6 in the Free Friday Flicks area of the park near Camp Kearney.  Just to note, a few of the residents at Richmond Place volunteered their time and knitted several of the pieces seen on the tree.  The Tree Sweater Gang is most well known for their tree bombing installations at the UK Arboretum Children’s Garden, which often have wishing pockets installed on them for children to write a wish and then leave it in the pocket on the tree.   

Please join our Friends of Jacobson Park Facebook group for more details on future events.  We are currently researching the interesting history of the park, and are planning a history walking tour in the future.  

Later this month we will also tour Kentucky American Water and learn how they pull water from Jacobson Lake and the Kentucky River and bring it to their facility to treat for public consumption. 

In late September we will be looking for volunteers to install thousands of plant plugs at Lakeside Golf Course for the installation of our riparian zone grant project.

Anyone interested in volunteering time in September to dig plug holes, plant plugs, or donate financially to support this large project, please contact Katie Lindeman at

This article appears on pages 8-9 of the July 2023 issue of HJ. To subscribe to our digital edition, click here. Stay tuned for more information about these and other neighborhood projects at the HJ Neighborhood Club on Facebook.