Thursday May 18, 2006
As part of the City of Parks initiative to expand Louisville’s park system, Metro Parks has acquired a 94-acre property along Floyds Fork near I-64, Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today. This $2.06 million purchase, which Metro Parks completed on Wednesday, means that the city now directly owns 845 acres of "land-banked" green space that will be developed into new park land through the City of Parks initiative that was announced by Abramson and Humana co-founder David A. Jones in February 2005. Additional acreage in the Floyds Fork area is being acquired and land-banked by two project partners – 21st Century Parks and Future Fund.
The property, located mainly to the south of I-64 along South Beckley Station Road, has significant frontage along Floyds Fork and is visible from I-64. The property is primarily flat open space, with trees along its edges. The Oesterritter family purchased the property in the 1940s, and operated a dairy farm on the site until 1990. More recently, the property has been used to grow sod. Until the property is developed into park land, a lease remains in place allowing the continued operation of a sod farm on the premises.
"When the time finally arrived for our family to make a decision about the sale of our farm, we had a couple of options to consider," said Jim Oesterritter. "Once we learned that Metro Parks was interested in turning our land into a park, though, we quickly decided that option had all the elements we were looking for – preservation of the land for all to use, along with a built-in legacy for our family. We’re thankful for the Trust For Public Land’s efforts, along with all those who worked so hard to bring this to fruition, and their commitment to our community."
The eventual use of this future park land will be determined through a master planning process for green space along the Floyds Fork corridor that begins this summer. 21st Century Parks, the non-profit organization founded by Jones to raise at least $20 million for the City of Parks, will soon announce the selection of a landscape design firm to develop that master plan, with substantial opportunities for public input. Meanwhile, Metro Parks officials noted that the Oesterritter Property would be ideal for sports fields, given its level landscape and proximity to I-64 and I-265. Full funding for this acquisition was provided by 21st Century Parks, with the purchase negotiated by the Trust for Public Land.
"Parcel by parcel, we are acquiring the critical mass of land that will allow us to realize our vision of a City of Parks," Abramson said. "This purchase gives us 94 acres of land – just downstream from our 130-acre Miles Park – that seems perfect for active recreational use. As we prepare to move into the public input and design phase of our City of Parks initiative, we’re in a good position to provide space for a variety of park uses along the Floyds Fork corridor – everything from wooded areas for hiking to ballfields for youth and adult sports leagues."
The City of Parks initiative includes acquisition of thousands of acres of new park land, investing millions in more than 100 capital improvements to existing parks, and development of a 100-mile paved metro loop path. The initiative has $59 million in funding commitments from public and private sources.
"The Oesterritter family has done a great thing for their community," said Lynda Frost, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. "The Trust for Public Land applauds them for making their land available for a park, and congratulates the leaders here in Louisville for their vision, which is getting attention nationwide."
About the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. To date, it has applied its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law by protecting more than two million acres nationwide. The Trust for Public Lands depends on many partnerships and the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information, visit http:http://www.tpl.org.