Monday September 26, 2005
Groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of construction on Phase III of Waterfront Park Centerpiece will be Big Four Pedestrian Bridge
A gathering at the base of the Big 4 Bridge today marked the beginning of the third phase of development of the Louisville Waterfront Park Master Plan. The former railroad Bridge has been abandoned for many years and will soon be a pedestrian link between Louisville and Southern Indiana. It is the centerpiece of this phase of development and one of the most anticipated portions of the entire Waterfront Park.
Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry E. Abramson, Jeffersonville’s Director of Planning & Zoning Chester Hicks, Congresswoman Anne Northup, and Lt. Governor Steve Pence joined Waterfront Development Corporation Chairman Matt Thornton to break ground on this third phase of Waterfront Park.
In addition to the conversion of the bridge into a pedestrian path, Phase III will include additional lawn areas, a plaza area with bench swings, additional paths for walking/jogging and picnic areas, as well as one additional parking lot. Construction is expected to be completed in 2008.
Congresswoman Northup said, “I’m so excited about the next phase of the Waterfront Park Project. The park offers the community so much, and with the addition of the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, we are turning an old, unused structure into a real community attraction.”
“Nearly 20 years since we began to reclaim our riverfront from unsightly piles of scrap and sand, we are at the beginning of the end of construction to complete Waterfront Park,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “It has taken a true partnership between all levels of government and private donors to come this far - allowing us to leave a legacy for generations to come.”
The Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation was incorporated in 1986. At that time, a Master Plan was commissioned after months of public hearings. The community’s voice was clear -- there was a need to convert the abandoned industrial wasteland into public green space.
The first phase of development featuring the Great Lawn was opened in 1999. The second phase, featuring the Brown-Forman Amphitheater, was opened in 2004. More than 1.5 million people visit Waterfront Park annually, and the park hosts an average of 100 separate events every year. In addition, the park has spawned tremendous economic development in the waterfront district.
The Waterfront Development Corporation anticipates building on the success of the first phase and second phase with further acquisition of property and conversion into green space. Additionally, the park is a living entity that is ever changing as public use continues to unfold.