Wednesday February 21, 2007
Acquisition is largest single purchase since project began;
should become part of new 1,000-acre park
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The ambitious Floyds Fork Greenway Project – part of the City of Parks initiative
– has moved a step closer to reality with the acquisition by 21st Century Parks of 458 acres off Brush Run Road. This purchase includes most of the old 570-acre Seatonville Springs Country Club, also known as the “Irongate property.” Including nearby properties owned by Future Fund, there are approximately 1,000 acres of contiguous green space that can become one of three large new parks along Floyds Fork.
"Our City of Parks is not just a dream, it's a reality," said Mayor Jerry Abramson. "This acquisition solidifies the critical mass of land for one of the anchor parks that will provide generations of enjoyment along the Floyds Fork corridor." A 1,000 acre park would become the largest regional park in the Metro Parks system – bigger than Cherokee Park (409 acres), Iroquois Park (739 acres) and McNeely Lake Park (746 acres). Only the park system’s two forests – Jefferson Memorial Forest (6,191 acres) and Otter Creek Park (2,600 acres) – are larger.
"The Irongate purchase serves as a major connection point in the greenway and trail corridors," said Dan Jones, president of 21st Century Parks. "It also anchors one of three regional parks that 21st Century Parks will build, with its partners Metro Parks and Future Fund, along Floyds Fork. Its completion highlights the very hard work that all of the partners have contributed to help bring this incredible project forward. Not only have we preserved another critical piece of land in this corridor, but we have added significantly to the parklands that our children and grandchildren will enjoy for decades to come."
21st Century Parks, a non-profit organization founded by David A. Jones Sr. and Dan Jones to acquire and develop a system of interconnected parks in the Floyds Fork watershed, paid $5,056,142 for the 458-acre property. This is the largest single purchase of property since the City of Parks initiative began in February 2005, and it is the first time that 21st Century Parks has directly purchased land. Previous acquisitions in the Floyds Fork corridor were funded by 21st Century Parks, but purchased through either Metro Parks or Future Fund, created in the early 1990s to preserve land along Floyds Fork. The Floyds Fork Greenway Project stretches along 27 miles of Floyds Fork, from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road.
This recent purchase includes both open meadow areas and forested hillsides, with several scenic vantage points. While the ultimate use of this new park area will be determined through a master planning process, it will likely include multi-use trails, along with a segment of the 100-mile paved metro loop path. The master planning process officially begins with a public input meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, 2007, at Eastern High School, 12400 Old Shelbyville Road.
With this purchase, combined with nearby Future Fund property, more than 90 percent of the path of the Turkey Run stream –which flows into Floyds Fork – is now protected for conservation. As commercial and residential development continues in the 122-square-mile Floyds Fork watershed, protecting feeder streams is an important method for preserving the water quality of Floyds Fork.
Abramson and David Jones unveiled the City of Parks concept in February 2005. It includes the addition of thousands of acres of park land in the Floyds Fork corridor, a 100-mile paved metro loop path encircling the city, continued expansion of the Jefferson Memorial Forest, and millions of dollars in capital improvements to existing parks. Metro Parks has completed 181 capital improvement projects worth $23.8 million since city and county governments merged in 2003, with an additional 88 projects underway. The Floyds Fork Greenway component of the City of Parks initiative has $62 million in funding commitments from public and private sources.