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Metro Newsroom


Final Phase of Parklands of Floyds Fork Begins

Wednesday July 3, 2013

--$20 million in federal funding to build infrastructure--

--Brown-Forman and John Schnatter provide millions in private donations--

Construction began today on the fourth and final phase of The Parklands of Floyds Fork, the nearly 4,000-acre, donor-supported public park system being developed by 21st Century Parks in eastern and southeastern Louisville.

The latest Parklands phase will comprise more than 2,400 acres of new public park assets, making it the largest park development project in Louisville and Jefferson County since the construction of the original Olmsted parks and parkways in the late 1800s. The project is expected to be complete by 2015. In all, this phase of construction is expected to cost approximately $35 million.

“We are taking the lessons of Frederick Law Olmsted and applying them today to ensure that future generations of our growing city have access to world-class parks and outdoor recreation,” said Dan Jones, 21st Century Parks’ founder and chief executive officer.

This phase in The Parklands’ development will focus on Turkey Run Park and Broad Run Park, the system’s southern-most parks, as well as a linear green space known as The Strand, which will connect these new parks with The Parklands’ two other parks already under development, Beckley Creek Park and Pope Lick Park.

The project’s initial work will utilize $20 million in federal transportation dollars and $6 million in private donations to build park infrastructure, including:

· 5.1 miles of the scenic Park Drive;

· 10.9 miles of the Louisville Loop, the paved multi-purpose walking, running and cycling path;

· 4 pedestrian bridges spanning Floyds Fork and Broad Run creek; and

· The John and Annette Schnatter Bridge to carry vehicles and users of the Louisville Loop over Floyds Fork. The Schnatters donated $3 million to The Parklands.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was instrumental in securing the federal funding.

“I am a proud supporter of 21st Century Parks, and upon completion, Kentuckians will be able to enjoy access to quality parks and open spaces throughout Louisville,” said Senator McConnell. “Both David and Dan Jones are true champions for the City of Louisville and I am honored to join them today for the groundbreaking of the final phase of the Parklands of Floyd Fork.”

When park infrastructure is in place, 21st Century Parks will invest another $9 million in private funding to build park amenities such as overlooks, picnic shelters, a splash park, playgrounds, mountain bike trails and paddling access points. A number of fishing ponds, reforestation areas and wildflower meadows will also be included.

Brown-Forman Silo Center to be one of the featured amenities

Turkey Run Park will be highlighted by the Brown-Forman Silo Center, a former seven-generation dairy farm that will be retrofitted as a community event and gathering space.

The farm’s former silo is planned to be re-capped and outfitted with stairs to become an observatory tower and a destination along the Park Drive, Louisville Loop and a number of nearby trails. The former tobacco barn will be renovated into an open-air event barn and other farm buildings on the site will be retrofitted as picnic pavilions and shade shelters.

Brown-Forman provided a $1 million donation to The Parklands.

“Brown-Forman is honored and excited to be a part of this exciting and city-shaping project,” said Jim Welch, vice chairman of Brown-Forman Corporation. “Our support of The Parklands of Floyds Fork is one way for us to provide an environment that inspires employees to do their best work and to continue to create a great community for all of us to live.”

Mountain Bike Trail System to also be funded with Schnatter donation

In addition to the John and Annette Schnatter Bridge, a portion of their donation will also go toward funding a system of trails and bike park amenities focused on progressive skill development that, under the guidance of the International Mountain Bike Association trail team, is planned to be one of the top trail systems east of the Mississippi River.

Parklands system already popular

The Parklands, in its entirety, is a $120 million construction project fully funded by a public-private partnership of local private donors, federal, state and city governments. Beckley Creek Park, Pope Lick Park, Turkey Run Park and Broad Run Park are named after tributaries of Floyds Fork, the stream that runs throughout The Parklands’ nearly 4,000 acres.

The first phase of The Parklands – the popular Marshall Playground and Sprayground – opened in 2011 at Beckley Creek Park. The second phase stretches from Shelbyville Road to Wibble Hill Road, and includes two signature road bridges, the PNC Achievement Center for Education and Interpretation and the Gheens Foundation Lodge, all now open. The 17-acre Egg Lawn will open this fall. The third phase consists of the southern portion of Beckley Creek Park, which features the tree-lined promenade called the Humana Grand Allee, and the construction of Pope Lick Park off Taylorsville Road, the second in the four-park system. This phase is currently under construction and Parklands officials expect to open it to the public in early September 2013. The Parklands fourth and final phase that began today will be complete in 2015.

Through the first six months of 2013, more than 250,000 people have visited The Parklands, approaching the attendance figure for all of 2012.

“With just a fraction of The Parklands open, we can see these parks are already providing outstanding recreational options for our residents,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “When this amazing project is complete it will be transformative for our city.”

Hall Contracting of Kentucky was selected as contractor for the infrastructure portions of Turkey Run Park and Broad Run Park. Additional contractors will be selected for landscaping and planting and the construction of park amenities. Bravura, of Louisville, provided architectural design; Qk4, also of Louisville, provided engineering services; and Wallace Roberts & Todd, of Philadelphia, developed The Parklands’ landscape master plan.

About The Parklands of Floyds Fork

The Parklands of Floyds Fork is a nearly 4,000-acre donor-supported public park system under development along the Floyds Fork watershed in eastern and southeastern Louisville. One of the largest and most ambitious metropolitan park projects in the nation, The Parklands is a dream realized by 21st Century Parks, a nonprofit organization established to create and preserve new unexcelled parks that serve as city-shaping infrastructure. 21st Century Parks is responsible for fundraising, land acquisition, construction, and long-term operations of the new park system.