Construction began Wednesday on the southern portion of Beckley Creek Park and Pope Lick Park, the next phase of The Parklands of Floyds Fork, the nearly 4,000-acre park system being developed by 21st Century Parks. This phase of The Parklands’ construction will add $15 million in new public park assets to Louisville.
A highlight of the area will be a nearly half-mile tree-lined walk that will stretch beneath a canopy of trees. The promenade will be named the Humana Grand Allee, thanks to the generosity of the Humana Inc., the Humana Foundation and Humana associates, who have contributed more than $8 million to the project.
The Humana Grand Allee (pronounced al-lay) provides an evolving series of experiences for the park visitor, connecting to a variety of walking paths and trails stretching from a half-mile to up to 20 miles.
The Grand Allee will begin in the Legacy Commons an area designated to recognize the many donors and partners that have support The Parklands project. This area will include a permanent donor wall, perennial garden and courtyard large enough to accommodate an outdoor event for 100 guests. The area is being names the Humana Legacy Commons in honor of its significant contributions.
Gov. Steve Beshear, Mayor Greg Fischer and Humana Chairman and CEO Michael McCallister, joined 21st Century Parks officials Wednesday in a tree-planting ceremony marking the future site of the Allee and Commons area.
“Humana is committed to creating innovative opportunities for members of our community to exercise and engage in healthy, active lifestyles,” McCallister said. “We are pleased to support to such a transformational project for our city.”
“The impact of the evolving Parklands project on our city will be enormous from increased recreation, adventure and greenspace to health and fitness to increased property values — it is the further defining of a city that people will want to live in and businesses will want to grow in,” Fischer said. “People around the world are looking at what we are doing here in Louisville — how we are defining our urban edge with this global best-practices initiative.”
Other amenities will include:
- Picnic groves – new picnic groves will occupy the Allee Oak Grove, Distillery Bend Flats and the Pope Lick Park gateway sites.
- Walking, hiking and cycling trails – including nearly 5 miles of the paved, multi-use path known as the Louisville Loop, and more than 5 miles of walking and hiking trails.
- Two trailheads with orientation and interpretive information, located at Distillery Bend and the entrance to Pope Lick Park at Taylorsville Road.
- Scenic Park Drive – 2.5 miles of a scenic drive that will ultimately stretch 20 miles connecting The Parklands.
- One road bridge at the southern end of the Humana Grand Allee and one arching pedestrian bridge crossing Floyds Fork near John Floyd Fields.
- New plantings – including more than 650 trees, extensive areas of reforestation and native wildlife enhancement.
- John Floyd Fields – revamped sports fields to house a variety of team sports and activities, as well as a half-mile recreational walking loop to encircle the athletic fields.
- Multi-sport fields located adjacent to the Festival Promenade at the southern end of the Humana Grand Allee.
- 3.69 acres of wetland and meadow restoration – made possible by a gift in honor of conservationist Bill Rue.
New parks system taking shape.
The 575-acre Pope Lick Park is one of four community parks that make up The Parklands of Floyds Fork, each named for tributaries of Floyds Fork. Beckley Creek Park, Turkey Run Park and Broad Run Park are the other parks in the system.
“It is so rewarding to see these magnificent parks begin to take shape,” said Dan Jones, 21st Century Parks’ founder and CEO. “This project is something that is for all of us, our entire community, and we are grateful for the many donors and partners who have stepped up to the plate to help us create this systemic, world-class addition to Louisville’s parks.”
The Parklands, in its entirety, is a $113 million project fully funded by a public-private partnership of local private donors, federal, state and city governments. Humana’s contributions of $8 million are a part of the private donations totaling more than $60 million. Public funding includes $38 million in federal transportation funds, $10 million in state funding, and $1.5 million from Louisville Metro Government.
Louisville Paving Company was selected as contractor for the initial phase of construction of Pope Lick Park. Additional contractors will be selected for landscaping and planting. Bravura provided architectural design, and Wallace Roberts & Todd developed The Parklands’ landscape master plan. The Federal Highway Administration and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet partnered with 21st Century Parks on the administration and approvals of the transportation projects throughout The Parklands.
This is the third phase of construction to begin at The Parklands of Floyds Fork. The first project was the completion of the popular Creekside Playground and Sprayground, one of the most accessible playgrounds in the metro region. The second phase of construction began in June 2010 and stretches from Shelbyville Road to Wibble Hill Road, including two signature road bridges, the PNC Achievement Center for Education and Interpretation, the Gheens Foundation Lodge and the 17-acre Egg Lawn. These amenities will begin to open this fall and early spring 2013. The Parklands will continue to be constructed in phases over the next several years, with completion expected in 2015.
About The Parklands of Floyds Fork
The Parklands of Floyds Fork is a nearly 4,000-acre public parks system under development along the Floyds Fork watershed in eastern and southeastern Louisville. One of the largest and most ambitious metropolitan park projects in the nation, The Parklands is a dream realized by 21st Century Parks, a nonprofit organization established to create and preserve new unexcelled parks that serve as city-shaping infrastructure. 21st Century Parks is responsible for fundraising, land acquisition, construction, and long-term operations and maintenance of the new parks system.