Land grant will expand Civil War park in Allen County

Wayne and Laura Jo Dugas.

A project in Scottsville will add 244 acres to the existing 68-acre Dumont Hill Park Civil War site to create a 312-acre park.

The land for the upcoming Dugas Community Park is being donated by Laura Dugas, daughter of late Dollar General Store founder Cal Turner Sr., her husband, Wayne Dugas, and their sons, Foster and Steve Dugas.

“Laura Dugas is the last surviving daughter of Cal Turner Sr.,” said Matt Pedigo, president of the Friends of Dumont Hill and a member of the Friends of Dugas Community Park board. “They’re going to contribute property their boys grew up on. They want future generations to grow up on it.”

Community leaders began meeting about the project about two years ago, Pedigo said.

“It was nothing but talk, but now it’s coming to fruition,” he said. “We tried to pull a cross section of the community to be involved in it. We formed a review committee to pick some engineering firms.”

A new nonprofit organization, the Friends of Dugas Community Park, will govern the park. The current Friends of Dumont Hill will help oversee events on the Dumont Hill portion. An endowment for maintenance and upkeep of the property will be established and administered by Western Kentucky University’s College Heights Foundation, Pedigo said.

“It would be a rural heritage park. There’s lots of possibility to it,” he said. “A lot of it’s creek bottom, trees, hills and hollers. It’s a beautiful area.”

There are no concrete plans for the land, but it may include a variety of outdoor activities, tree houses, a farmers market and more. The borders of the land are North Bedelia Street, Ky. 980, North Cemetery Street and U.S. 31-E, Pedigo said.

“These projects haven’t even been submitted yet. It will be pretty significant I’m sure. They may create a farmers market and visitor area along 31-E,” he said. “Having access to 31-E is going to be easier for visitors. That’s something we never had at Dumont Hill.”

The park will be developed in phases, Pedigo said. Phase I will be finishing plans that the Friends of Dumont Hill had for the property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dumont Hill was the site of a Union Army encampment between the battles of Perryville and Stones River in Tennessee in 1862, Pedigo said.

“It is a chunk of history. Two-thirds of men died from disease,” he said. “This camp was typical of that. More than 50 died in November 1862 at the Dumont Hill site.”

Dumont Hill has three miles of walking trails and interpretive signage detailing Civil War and natural attributes, Pedigo said. The land donation will help the organizers finish what they started.

“We planned an amphitheater for live performance events and pavilions,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of requests for weddings and family reunions. We’re going to revisit grants for Phase I. This is completely in the embryonic stage.”

The property will provide educational opportunities for WKU and Allen County-Scottsville students, Pedigo said.

“WKU can use the property to learn through. It’s going to be a quarter-mile from our school system, so we want them to use it,” he said. “There will be a lot of opportunities for students here. That’s what we’re thrilled about. It’s got a lot of exciting possibilities for sure.”

Pedigo hopes Phase I is completed by the end of the year, possibly in time for a Civil War re-enactment that may happen the last weekend of October.

“We don’t have a lot of details,” he said. “The surrounding area won’t have anything on it yet.”

The land is “an incredible gift,” Pedigo said.

“What these people have done for this community is really amazing,” he said.

— Follow features reporter Alyssa Harvey on Twitter at twitter.com/bgdnfeatures or visit bgdailynews.com.

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