Officials broke ground Tuesday on major construction of a part of The Parklands of Floyds Fork, which will be one of the nation’s largest park developments.
21st Century Parks, the non-profit group in charge of the park development, brought local officials southeast Jefferson County to begin work on the Beckley Creek Park portion of the project.
“This park system will shape our city and state like we’ve never been shaped before,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Fischer; U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, the park’s architect; Dan Jones, 21st Century Parks CEO; and David Jones Sr., treasurer of the parks organization and whose family is a major donor to the project, pounded wooden stakes into the future site of the Egg Lawn.
Fischer called the lawn a cross between the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park and Seneca Park.
The project will be funded by local donors and federal, state and city governments. Private contributions have exceed $60 million, while the project has received $49.5 million in public funding.
McConnell, who secured $38 million in federal transportation funds for the park, said, “Kentucky will be able to use and enjoy the most fabulous park system in this country for the next century.”
Approximately $80 million of the project’s budget will fund the design and construction of the park. Bunster-Ossa, who has designed park systems in San Diego, New York City and San Francisco, called designing the Parklands an unique experience because of Louisville’s infrastructure.
“The scale of the project and its location just don’t have an equivalent,” Bunster-Ossa said.
The Parklands will be built in phases over the next several years. Officials broke ground Tuesday on the 616-acre Beckley Creek area, which begins at Shelbyville Road and extends to South English Station Road. It will incorporate the existing William F. Miles Park.
Beckley Creek’s construction will cost roughly $16 million, and its initial phases are expected to be complete next year. In addition to the Egg Lawn, the park will feature the Gheens Foundation Lodge, an indoor-outdoor event facility that can hold 350 people, and the PNC Achievement Center for Education, a 3,500-square-foot facility that will serve as the hub for educational and interpretive programming.
“The park will be a place for both recreation and education,” Dan Jones said.
Beckley Creek will also have a 150-person picnic pavilion and a canoe launch, where paddlers can get access to Floyds Fork.
“This is going to develop our city like no other place in the country,” Fischer said.
Reporter Patrick Sullivan can be reached at (502) 582-7086.