Thursday December 15, 2005
114 acres to be added to park system along Floyds Fork
$2.85 million in new donations secured to acquire park land
A leading real estate developer has donated 114 acres of environmentally sensitive land along Floyds Fork to the City of Parks initiative, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Humana co-founder David A. Jones announced today. Jones said that three significant new gifts have brought his fundraising total to more than $17 million.
In February, Abramson and Jones announced the plan to add thousands of acres of green space to Louisville’s park system and a 100-mile paved trail encircling the city. Jones pledged to raise $20 million from private sources.
Brown, Noltemeyer & Mattingly, a Louisville real estate development firm, has agreed to donate 114 acres of land, valued at $1.4 million that is part of its new 432-acre Little Springs Farm subdivision off Bardstown Road near Bullitt County. The heavily wooded property, which includes two waterfalls and significant frontage along Floyds Fork, connects to the 8-acre Fairmount Falls property that Metro Parks acquired in 2002. The Fairmount Falls property, which features a 40-foot waterfall along a Floyds Fork tributary, is open for the public to explore by permit only, beginning today.
Charlie Brown, a partner in the real estate firm, said, “As lifelong residents of Louisville, we are proud and happy to contribute such a beautiful natural asset to the city’s park-expansion efforts. This property is located right in the center of the Floyds Fork target area for park expansion, and we are confident that these 114 acres will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Abramson noted that Brown’s firm has long been a good corporate citizen. “We are tremendously grateful to Brown, Noltemeyer & Mattingly for this donation, and for sharing our vision of building a City of Parks,” he said. “When a developer turns over land for recreational use, it benefits the immediate neighbors who appreciate nearby land being preserved, and it benefits the entire community by setting aside additional green space that helps improve our hometown’s quality of life.”
“The 114-acre gift from Brown, Noltemeyer & Mattingly is important for two reasons,” said Jones. “First, it is a valuable and generous gift. Second, it sets the example of developers working with parks officials and environmentalists to create neighborhoods which, like Olmsted’s, will harmonize with nature and maintain strong property values.”
Jones noted that Future Fund, the conservation group led by Steve Henry and Jeff Frank that has worked for more than a decade to preserve land along Floyds Fork, secured this gift for 21st Century Parks, the non-profit entity formed to raise funds for land acquisition in the Floyds Fork area.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, who secured $38 million in federal funds for the initiative, said: “I am excited to hear about the generous donation of over 100 acres for the 21st Century Parks project. When complete, Louisville will have an innovative system of parks unmatched anywhere in the country and I am proud to have played a part in making it happen.”
Strong private support Jones also announced that 21st Century Parks has secured three major new gifts:
· The Humana Foundation - $1.25 million
· Current and retired Humana executives - $1.1 million
· Brown-Forman - $500,000
“I continue to be overwhelmed by the enthusiastic support we’ve received,” said Jones. “Each of these groups has demonstrated their commitment to the grand vision of a City of Parks, and I’m especially proud of the Humana executives for personally stepping up to the plate in such a big way.”
Other major contributions have included:
· $5 million from David Jones and his family
· $2 million from John and Annette Schnatter
· $3 million from James Graham Brown Foundation
· $1 million from Sara Shallenberger Brown
As private fund-raising and acquisition continue, the project’s total funding stands at $59 million, including $1 million set aside by Abramson in his capital budget. 21st Century Parks plans to select a consultant in 2006 to oversee the design process that will determine the location and layout of the city’s new parks and paved trails.
Meanwhile, Metro Parks continues to improve the city’s existing parks through 105 active capital-improvement projects worth $15 million. The department has completed 109 park-improvement projects since merger in 2003. Metro Parks is also pursuing park land expansion opportunities elsewhere in the city.