Wednesday November 18, 2009
Article courtesy of Courier-Journal, Sheldon S. Shafer reporter.
Nearly all the proceeds from the sale of the Gallopalooza horses this year are going to landscape and beautify the busy interchange of I-65 and the Watterson Expressway near Gate 1 to the Kentucky Exposition Center and the approach to Louisville International Airport.
Gallopalooza sponsors, in partnership with officials of the Brightside beautification organization, hope to raise at least $400,000 from the sale of the colorful horse statues. That money is to be matched by a $700,000 federal highway grant through the state Transportation Cabinet for the interchange project.
The Brightside directors chose the I-65-Watterson project, and the Gallopalooza board endorsed it.
Millions of people a year drive through the interchange. But, “there’s nothing there” in the way of landscaping, said Cynthia Knapek, Brightside executive director. At least four grassy areas along ramps in the interchange — south of Phillips Lane between Preston Highway and Crittenden Drive — will be improved.
Knapek said the landscaping for the project awaits final design, but that work to plant flowers and install other landscaping should begin next spring and be completed by September, in time for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The final plan will require review by the Regional Airport Authority. The preliminary plan calls for the plantings in all four quadrants to include a total of about 400 trees and about 4,300 daylilies.
“We looked at a lot of sites,” Knapek said. “We felt this one had so many possibilities with its impact, including the regional traffic to and from the fairgrounds and the national traffic at the airport. And it also will benefit the many people who live here” and drive through the area.
An initial estimate by Louisville landscape architect John Korfhage for the project was $1.4 million, but Knapek said Brightside hopes to reduce that cost by using some of its own volunteer crews and perhaps by getting companies to donate in-kind services.
If any money from the Gallopalooza sale proceeds is left after the I-65-Watterson project, Knapek said the money could go to plant wildflowers or do landscaping along other local interstates, including the Dixie Highway-Watterson and the Dixie-Gene Snyder interchanges and also the new interchange being developed at the Watterson and Westport Road.
Lynn Huffman, executive director of the Gallopalooza project, said 36 of the horse statues already have been sold, for $4,000 or $5,000 to the agencies and companies that sponsored them. An additional 40 will be sold at a benefit auction at the Seelbach Hilton Friday night. Fifty-three are currently up for bid online at www.gallopalooza.com.
Huffman said one statue will be given away in a drawing, one will auctioned at the World Equestrian Games next fall and one will be retained by the Gallopalooza sponsors for promotional purposes.
Gallopalooza I in 2004 saw the sale of 223 horses, raising about $775,000, Huffman said. Under the first program, Brightside received at least half the funds from the sale of each horse. The purchasers could direct all of the proceeds to Brightside or half of the sale price to some other non-profit.
In all, Brightside received about $475,000 from the first Galloopalooza. Most of those proceeds to Brightside went to plant wildflowers along the Gene Snyder and to replenish 16 Brightsites and to develop several new Brightsites, most of them in the suburbs, Huffman said.
Under Gallopalooza II, none of the proceeds will go directly to Brightside. Huffman said there won’t be a third Gallopalooza for at least five years.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089.