VICCO—Patrons to the new park in the City of Vicco can now thank the donors of the funds used to build it after a dedication ceremony was hosted over the weekend to officially open the park.
Vicco Mayor Johnny Cummings presented keys to the city to Max Mutchnick and his husband Erik Hyman on Saturday during the dedication ceremony in the park.
Mutchnick and Hyman, both of Los Angeles, Calif., said they were thrilled to be able to help a community like Vicco after the big steps it had taken in the last year towards equality.
“We’re really pro-equality, and we found out about the town and what Mayor Cummings had done for the town of Vicco,” Mutchnick said.
In 2013, Vicco became one of only four cites in Kentucky at that time to approve an anti-discrimination fairness ordinance, which would protect the rights of any citizen of the city so that they cannot be discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identification, this includes being denied service at restaurants, being kept from renting a house or apartment, and rendering other services. According to the Fairness Coalition, the group that was backing the ordinance, this was the first ordinance of this kind to be passed in the state in over a decade.
“So often it’s just negative news about equal rights and same sex marriage and there always seems to be a negative tone around it,” Mutchnick, who was the creator of the Emmy-winning series “Will & Grace,” said. “All of a sudden we hear this story about this great mayor and this great little town, and so we called up and said what can we do to make it nicer there.”
Mutchnick said he and Cummings, Vicco’s first openly gay mayor, came up with the idea to give the community a beautiful, new park.
“This is the effort we made for Vicco,” Mutchnick said. “We’re very proud of the park and the city.”
The Rose and Evan Playground was named after the couple’s daughters, Rose and Evan Hyman-Mutchnick, who were also present at the dedication.
Cummings said at the dedication that he was so proud to be able to show those who may not live in the city what a great place Vicco is, and added that the park was the perfect addition to Main Street and would not be the last improvement citizens would see.
“The playground has made such a difference to the children of Vicco,” Cummings said. “It’s become a gathering place, bringing the town closer together.”
Hyman said he and Mutchnick plan to stay in touch with Cummings and those they had met in Vicco.
“I think we’re really happy to get to know Vicco and to get to know Johnny (Cummings) and to just get to know the community,” he said.
Mutchnick added that the steps Vicco had taken toward equality in the last year have definitely helped to change the minds of those who live on the other side of the Kentucky border.
“I have always thought of Kentucky as the place of bourbon and thorough bred horses and now I have to think of it as a place of anti-discrimination,” he said.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.