Tuesday May 31, 2011
Beckley Creek Park to be first phase of $113 million project
Major construction began today on one of the nation’s largest and most ambitious metropolitan park-development projects. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today helped hammer in wooden stakes marking the future site of the Egg Lawn, one of the focal points of The Parklands of Floyds Fork, the nearly 4,000-acre new parks system being developed by 21st Century Parks.
The $113 million project will create a massive swath of recreational and natural greenspace along the Floyds Fork watershed in eastern and southeastern Louisville. It will be anchored by four community parks, each named for tributaries of Floyds Fork: Beckley Creek Park, Pope Lick Park, Turkey Run Park and Broad Run Park.
The project will be funded by more than $60 million in private donations along with $49.5 million in public funding, including $38 million in federal transportation funds secured by Sen. McConnell.
“Louisville has long been a first-class city when it comes to parks, and the 21st Century Parks Project will give our city an innovative system of parks unmatched anywhere in the county. Upon completion of the project, Kentuckians will be able to enjoy access to quality parks and open spaces throughout Louisville. It’s an honor to participate in today’s event, and I congratulate David and Dan Jones for making their dream a reality,” Senator McConnell said.
“This is a world-class boost to our city’s livability, made possible by a strong example of public-private partnership between 21st Century Parks, Metro Parks, Senator McConnell, the Beshear administration and visionary private sector donors,” Fischer said. “The crucial early funding that Senator McConnell obtained, moved the timing of this tremendous addition to our community up considerably.”
First phase of construction begins with Beckley Creek Park
The Parklands will be constructed in phases over the next several years. Work began today on the 616-acre Beckley Creek Park which begins at Shelbyville Road, east of Middletown, to S. English Station Road and Echo Trail. It includes land 21st Century Parks acquired for The Parklands, and incorporates the existing acreage of the current William F. Miles Park on Shelbyville Road.
“The vision Frederick Law Olmsted had a century ago of a city built around its parks is coming alive again,” said Dan Jones, 21st Century Parks’ chief executive officer. “This dream is becoming reality thanks to the many partners we have, from Senator McConnell, the city and state, and our wonderful donors who share in the vision of creating a city of parks.”
The build-out of Beckley Creek Park will cost approximately $16 million, and its initial phases are expected to be complete next year. Highlights of the park will include:
- The Egg Lawn – a “great lawn”-style landmark for The Parklands. Named for its shape, the 23-acre lawn will be encircled by a walking path and the park drive.
- The Gheens Foundation Lodge – an indoor-outdoor event facility with views from the bank of Floyds Fork Creek, and a variety of meeting and banquet spaces accommodating 10 to 350 people.
- The PNC Achievement Center for Education and Interpretation– a 3,500-sq. ft. facility that will serve as the hub for educational and interpretive programming for The Parklands. It will include a welcome center with display and exhibit areas, classrooms and resource areas able to accommodate groups ranging from school field trips to weekend programming.
- Walking, hiking and cycling facilities – including 3 miles of the paved, multi-use path known as the Louisville Loop, as well as 2.5 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails, and a trailhead, including an orientation and restroom facility. When The Parklands are complete, the entire system will include 20 miles of the Louisville Loop and 100 miles of new trails.
- Park Drive and bridges over Floyds Fork – 2.5 miles of a scenic drive that will ultimately stretch 20 miles connecting The Parklands, as well as two arching bridges crossing Floyds Fork, that are designed to accommodate potential high water levels.
- Canoe launch – a new canoe launch will be added, one of several ultimately to be part of The Parklands’ 20-mile water trail along Floyds Fork.
- New plantings – including extensive areas of reforestation and meadow restoration.
- Garden Gateway - created to serve as a signature entrance to the park off Shelbyville Road and incorporating a mix of plantings that will be in bloom throughout the year.
Also part of Beckley Creek Park will be a large, 150-person picnic pavilion and a “bark park” for dogs and their owners. The lakes and fishing docks at the current Miles Park will be upgraded and made wheelchair-accessible.
The Parklands’ initial demonstration project, the Creekside Playground and Sprayground, will be dedicated this June. Located at Beckley Station Rd. and Wibble Hill Rd., the $1.86 million playground was funded partially by $1.5 million in Louisville Metro funds. It includes a children’s play area with variety of swings, slides and climbing structures, as well as a separate splash-play area with interactive water-spray elements.
MAC Construction was selected as construction contractor for the initial phase of Beckley Creek Park. Bravura provided architectural design, and Wallace Roberts & Todd developed The Parklands’ landscape plan. The Federal Highway Administration and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet partnered with 21st Century Parks on the administration and approvals of the transportation projects throughout The Parklands.
About The Parklands of Floyds Fork
The Parklands of Floyds Fork is a nearly 4,000-acre public parks system under development along the Floyds Fork watershed in eastern and southeastern Louisville. One of the largest and most ambitious metropolitan park projects in the nation, The Parklands is a dream realized by 21st Century Parks, a nonprofit organization established to create and preserve new unexcelled parks that serve as city-shaping infrastructure. 21st Century Parks is responsible for fundraising, land acquisition, construction, long-term operations and maintenance of the new parks system.