with a purpose
canoeing among activities
on Louisvilles recreational pathway
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 2007) In a world full
of sedentary jobs, physical fitness is on many peoples minds.
Realizing this, Metro Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson instigated a Healthy
Hometown Movement that has spread like wildfire, and will eventually
touch parts of Oldham County.
will soon enjoy expanded
pathways throughout Metro Louisville,
and eventually reaching Oldham County.
Metro Parks of Louisville has acquired hundreds of acres
that will contain bicycle and pedestrian pathways through park-like
settings within a 15-year period. More than $3.5 million will be implemented
through the Department of Planning and Design in bicycle related projects.
One of the main goals of this project is to improve bicycling safety
and awareness in Louisville, city officials say.
One way to do so will be through the upcoming Mayors Hike &
Bike. On Memorial Day, May 28, cyclists and walkers are invited to participate
in this event, beginning at 10 a.m. at Waterfront Park.
The 15-mile cyclist route will progress south through Old Louisville,
the University of Louisville, Southern Parkway, Iroquois Park and wind
back to Waterfront Park. A 2.5-mile Mayors Mile loop
will be marked for walkers along Waterfront Park.
Through the City of Parks initiative Louisvilles park system will
expand to benefit a great many people within the next few decades. Out
of 123 parks, Louisville now owns 14,000 acres. Our goal is to
add 3,000 to 4,000 acres of new greenspace, said Jason Cissell,
community relation director for Metro Parks.
The proposed Metro Loop is a 100-mile paved bike and pedestrian path
that will encircle Louisville, increasing biking opportunities throughout
the city for cyclists. This multi-use path is expected to take five
years to complete, and will extend into the outlying cities of Jefferson
The Metro Loop will include certain segments that are already in place
along the Floyds Fork watershed area, which runs through eastern and
southeastern parts of Jefferson County and into Oldham County. Metro
Parks estimates that $20 million will be spent in the Floyds Fork corridor
alone for this segment of the project.
Some significant Metro Parks holdings already stationed along the proposed
bike route will be incorporated into the Metro Loop, such as Miles Park
in the Middletown area. This 130 acres of former farmland lies across
from Valhalla Golf Course and was once the site of a pumping station
along Floyds Fork.
Miles Park is one of two canoe launch sites that are part of a $120,000
canoe-launch project to be included in the City of Parks expansion.
The second site is in the Fishersville area, located off of Old Taylorsville
Road. Plans even call for a canoeing curriculum to be developed by the
Jefferson County Public School system and the American Canoe Association.
Land acquisitions for the City of Parks initiative also includes 94
acres downstream from Miles Park, along South Beckley Station Road.
This property, south of I-64, has significant frontage along Floyds
The addition of land in the Floyds Fork corridor is the single largest
addition to the Louisville parks system since the expansion of the Jefferson
Memorial Forest in the 1970s, officials say. Cissell said that $60 million
in funding commitments have been made so far to the City of Parks initiative
project through public and private sources.
It is a complex project, said Cissell, with many different phases and
land negotiations to be worked out. Mayor Abramson allotted $1
million for land acquisition in 2005, he said.
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell earmarked another $38 million in federal
funding. Humana Inc. co-founder David A. Jones has established a nonprofit
organization, 21st Century Parks, to raise $20 million.
Kevin Beck of 21st Century Parks said the overall goal is to create
a great park system. It will be a model for other cities to follow.
Beck said 21st Century Parks saw Floyds Fork as one of the last
pristine areas in Kentucky, and immediately began acquiring surrounding
Wallace, Roberts & Todd, a national planning and design firm, was
hired to develop a master plan for the Floyds Fork corridor. Time was
spent to find a firm that employed Frederick Law Olmsteds vision
and dedication was sought to make the proposed 100-mile loop a reality,
Public input will be key factor in developing the area surrounding the
Metro Loop. Many meetings will be held for people who live in the targeted
areas to determine the best use of the parkland, said Beck.
Greenways for Oldham County members say they are interested in the Metro
Loop project, since the loop will extend beyond the city of Louisville.
The Metro Loop project is one that Greenways could definitely
connect with anywhere, said Amy Jackson, a Greenways board member.
A possible connection would be in Pewee Valley, she added.
She says she is excited about a project that could bring tourism dollars
to Oldham County, in addition to helping with fitness levels. Cyclists
generally travel far when riding, and this would be a way to encourage
Jefferson County residents to visit Oldham County for the day.
A lot of cyclists already ride along Westport Road, said
Jackson has observed that in other towns that have pedestrian-bicycle
paths, new restaurants and businesses pop up along the trails. People
are already making a connection from Jefferson County to Oldham County,
For more information, contact Jason Cissell
at (502) 456-3253 or (502) 744-0549. Read more about the Louisville
project at: www.floydsfork.org.
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