Monday June 13, 2005
Mayor: Louisville on the Path to ‘City of Parks’ Vision
60 Park-Improvement Projects to Begin; $11.8 million Raised for New Park Land Acquisition
LOUISVILLE (June 13, 2005) – Mayor Jerry Abramson says Louisville is well on its way to becoming a “City of Parks.”
At a news conference today at Shelby Park, Abramson outlined some 60 park-improvement projects set to begin, and announced that more than $11.8 million in private funding has been raised toward a $20 million fund proposed to acquire thousands of acres of new park land for the community.
David Jones, Humana Inc. co-founder, is leading the private fundraising effort through the nonprofit organization 21st Century Parks.
“Thanks to the leadership of David Jones, we’re more than halfway there,” Abramson said. “I continue to be amazed at how Mr. Jones has embraced this project, and has been able to effectively share with others our vision for a grand City of Parks.”
Abramson recommended a $1 million contribution of public funds in his proposed Louisville Metro budget to support the private fundraising effort for land acquisition.
“We have a window of opportunity to preserve land and create a legacy of quality parks for our children and for generations to come,” Abramson said.
In February, Abramson announced the City of Parks initiative, a far-reaching “greenprint” for Louisville. The multi-year effort includes a 100-mile hiking and bicycling trail around Louisville’s perimeter, a major upgrade of the city’s existing parks, and the addition of at least 3,000 acres of park land in the Floyds Fork watershed – including the development of three or four new parks roughly the size of Cherokee Park.
Jones said his fundraising efforts have received a positive response.
“People are tremendously excited about the scope and the breadth of this endeavor, and what it will mean for the future of our community,” he said. “I'm pleased with the results thus far and am confident that we’ll reach our $20 million goal.” 60 park improvements set to begin
The mayor said that the city has more than $4.6 million in improvement projects at 60 parks underway or set to begin this summer.
“In creating our City of Parks, we must continue and build upon the Olmsted tradition of excellent parks and parkways that exist inside the Watterson Expressway, and extend that vision to the rapidly developing areas outside the Watterson,” Abramson said.
The improvement projects are at parks across Louisville, including $510,000 in athletic-complex enhancements at Fern Creek Park, $122,000 in shelter and site improvements at Hounz Lane Park, and several playground and basketball court replacements.
One of the larger improvement projects is the $1.1 million in improvements at Shelby Park in Smoketown. It is the first phase of an Olmsted Parks Conservancy restoration project, and will include a new bandstand and concert grove, upgraded restrooms, relocated basketball court with new seating, and new walkways with trees, pathway lighting and benches. The Olmsted Parks Conservancy contributed $220,000 in funding to the project.
Abramson said that since the merger of Louisville and Jefferson County governments, Metro Parks has completed 87 capital improvement projects totaling $17 million in investment in existing parks.
For information about the City of Parks initiative or to make a donation, call MetroCall at 311 or 574-5000, or visit the Metro Parks web site at www.metro-parks.org