Wednesday August 13, 2008
Louisville Metro Parks and the Kentucky Division of Forestry purchased a 98-acre walnut farm this week, part of the City of Parks initiative. The property – the largest known walnut plantation east of the Mississippi River – will ultimately become publicly accessible park land.
The farm, at 15101 Taylorsville Road, was purchased using $700,000 from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund and $292,390 donated to the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation by David and Betty Jones.
Through a unique arrangement, Louisville Metro Government and the Commonwealth of Kentucky will jointly own the property, and will work together to develop a management plan. The property will not be publicly accessible until that management plan is implemented, similar to other recent acquisitions by Metro Parks.
The farm’s black walnut trees were planted in rows and carefully maintained beginning in 1972 by Rolleigh Peterson, who died in 2005. He is survived by his wife, Patricia. There is a small monument on the property to their daughter, Susan Peterson Trendel, who died in 1996. The property also includes some open farmland.
“There can be no more important goal than preserving Kentucky’s outstanding scenic beauty and diverse natural resources,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “We are delighted to partner with Louisville Metro Government to acquire and preserve this remarkable property. It is a wise investment that will benefit future generations of Kentuckians.”
“This purchase protects a stunning piece of property alongside Taylorsville Road, and represents another move forward in our City of Parks plan,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “Our children and grandchildren will stroll among Rolleigh Peterson’s orderly rows of walnut trees while learning lessons about ecology and stewardship, thanks to our partnership with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.”
The City of Parks initiative calls for acquisition of new park land, significant improvements to Louisville’s existing parks, development of a 100-mile paved Louisville Loop trail, and new environmental education programs. Abramson has added 963 acres to Louisville’s parks since this initiative was announced in 2005.
This acquisition permanently protects nearly three-quarters of a mile of Floyds Fork, which curves around the northern and eastern edges of the property, just north of Taylorsville Road. The property is located to the southeast of a corridor along Floyds Fork where 21st Century Parks recently completed a master plan for park land and green space.
“Betty and I were pleased to help the city and state purchase this farm,” said Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr. “It’s a magnificent piece of property along Floyds Fork, and a great candidate for the conservation and education programs envisioned by Metro Parks and the Division of Forestry.”
The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund has assisted with the purchase of more than 900 acres in Louisville, using funds from the purchase of Nature License Plates, environmental fines, and the state’s portion of the unmined minerals tax. The Fund’s resources are used to protect natural areas for outdoor recreation and environmental education.
Louisville Metro Parks – www.metro-parks.org
Kentucky Division of Forestry – forestry.ky.gov
Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund - dnr.ky.gov/heritageland
21st Century Parks – www.21cparks.org
Louisville Metro Parks Foundation - www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroParks/parksfoundation.htm