Final Link to Waterfront Park is Acquired
Tuesday April 18, 2006
20-year, 85-acre reclamation of riverfront property nears completion
The last vestige of silos, scrap metal and sand piles along downtown Louisville’s riverfront will soon be no more, as Mayor Jerry Abramson and Waterfront Park officials today announced that Waterfront Park has cleared the final hurdle on its way to completion.
Waterfront Development Corporation on Thursday will close its purchase of 3.5 acres located at 903 East River Road. Currently owned by Lafarge North America, Inc., the property is the sole remaining property to be acquired for the planned 85-acre Waterfront Park.
"Securing this property is the final, missing link for Waterfront Park," Abramson said. "The Waterfront has turned yesterday’s memories of sand and scrap into tomorrow’s promise of continuous green space for this community’s and region’s recreational front yard."
Lafarge manufactured building materials on the site since the early 1900s. In 2004, the company announced it would sell the property to the city for $3.5 million to make way for Waterfront Park’s third and final phase.
The signature icon of the third phase is the pedestrian walkway on the Big Four Bridge, connecting Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind. Construction for the $21 million Phase III began in January 2005 and is expected to be complete in 2008.
The city began acquiring scrap yards and sand and salt storage lots along the river in the early 1990s, with Waterfront Park’s Phase I opening in July 1999 and Phase II opening in June 2004. Annual attendance at the park exceeds 1.5 million people, with special events attracting hundreds of thousands of people at a time. Waterfront Park is home to successful events, such as Waterfront Independence Festival, Waterfront Wednesdays concerts, Kentucky Derby Chow Wagon and various community events.