Monday February 25, 2008
Mayor Abramson Outlines Proposal to Include 3 City Parks in Project
A new website will allow the public to get the latest information about the Floyds Fork Greenway project, part of the City of Parks initiative.
The user-friendly website, www.21cparks.org, offers the public detailed information about The Fork project and the 21st Century Parks organization, headed by Dan Jones.
The “Get Involved” page was designed to give Louisvillians a direct way to make suggestions on the kinds of park amenities they would like to see in The Fork. The public is also encouraged to use the website to give feedback on the project’s design.
The draft master plan of The Fork will be unveiled at a public meeting at Christian Academy of Louisville on South English Station Road, from 6 to 9 p.m., on March 4, 2008. It will be available online at www.21cparks.org on March 5.
“In our guiding principles, we aspire to design a world-class park system that is well-used and well-loved,”” said Dan Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of 21st Century Parks. “In order to create a truly public parks system, input from park users is absolutely essential.”
21st Century Parks is a partner in the City of Parks project, led by Mayor Jerry Abramson. The Fork will include 18 miles of the “Louisville Loop,” the city’s future 100-mile long trail connecting major parks.
Abramson joined 21st Century Parks for the public introduction of the website.
“From the beginning of the City of Parks project, Metro Government and the Joneses have been committed to building parks with strong input from the people,” said Abramson. “I encourage every citizen to log on and take advantage of the ‘Get Involved’ page and to attend upcoming public meetings on the project.”
Abramson also briefed the citizens of Louisville Metro on his administration’s proposed ordinance to include three city parks in the 21st Century Parks project. The parks, which total about 700 acres, are Miles Park on Shelbyville Road as well as Floyd’s Fork Park and Tyler Schooling off Taylorsville Road.
With the prospect of fully integrating these parks in The Fork’s master plan, 21st Century Parks had originally asked the Metro Council for easements to protect the city-owned parks as parklands in perpetuity. The intent was to give the same protections to the city-owned parks that 21st Century Parks has obtained through easements for the privately-owned lands in the project. 21st Century Parks also offered to fund the entire cost of maintaining the three parks.
Responding to some citizen’s concerns about granting 21st Century Parks easements for city-owned properties, Abramson and his staff have initiated an alternative plan.
The city-owned parks will be protected in perpetuity as parklands by Louisville Metro.
Instead of turning over the city-owned lands to 21st Century Parks as first proposed, Louisville Metro will have a contract with the non-profit corporation to maintain the parks. The details of that contract are still being developed.
David Jones Sr., co-founder of Humana and treasurer of 21st Century Parks, believes Abramson’s proposal offers a reasonable and workable solution.
“Our goal is for this wonderful project to always be clean, safe and well-maintained,” said David Jones. “21st Century Parks made a philanthropic gesture to pay for the maintenance and we still intend to do that but it doesn’t have to be done by easements. It could be done through a short-term contract that could be renewed so long as all parties were happy.”
“The Jones family and many generous donors, working with Metro Government, will bring a new world-class park system to our city,” said Abramson. “The Jones’ impact and their legacy on our hometown is truly amazing."