Mayor Greg Fischer today joined Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, the Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC), the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and MKSK Studios to announce that a major piece of planning for Waterfront Park Phase IV is in place.
MSD has acquired 4.8 acres of land there as part of a tunnel basin project that is expected to begin construction in late summer 2017. Once completed, the bulk of the land will be turned over for the park, providing an important link with other parcels, creating a unified waterfront experience.
“Waterfront Park is Louisville’s front yard, our community living room. We’re enormously proud of it,” said the Mayor. “Projects like Waterfront Park Phase IV are critical because they strengthen the connection among our neighborhoods by giving people even more space to come together, take a walk, ride their bikes and enjoy our unique quality of life in Louisville.”
Phase IV will expand Waterfront Park west of 10th Street to provide a continuation of open space along the river and bring the prospect for new experiences and activities to the area. As part of the project, River Road will be extended west to Rowan Street, providing a vital connection between the existing park and Phase IV, downtown and the west.
The existing RiverWalk adds an additional pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly connection between the first three phases and Phase IV. The expansion will also refresh and update one of the early sections of the Louisville Loop.
“I am excited that today we are taking another important step in the westward expansion of Waterfront Park with the acquisition of all the 22-acres,” said Councilwoman Bryant Hamilton. “Louisville was founded here in the Portland neighborhood, and I’m glad that the residents of the community will soon have additional waterfront recreational access, as was originally planned back in the 1980s.”
In addition to announcing the land acquisition, MKSK unveiled new renderings of the amenities Phase IV will provide, centering on three components – Reveal, Play, Connect, where residents and visitors can experience the waterfront like never before.
The 22-acre site plan shows increased green space and interactive features that will connect Portland and downtown, becoming a catalyst for economic development, improved health and wellness for the city, as well as a regional attraction for visitors to downtown.
“The location of Phase IV offers both social and economic opportunities that few other sites in the city could afford,” said WDC VP Mike Kimmel. “This will be an exciting addition to Waterfront Park.”
The Waterfront Park master plan for Phase IV was approved by Metro Council in 2015, and the city allocated $950,000 in last year’s budget for planning and land acquisition. As with the first three phases of Waterfront Park, funding will be assembled from a variety of sources, including requests to government, corporations, individuals, and foundations. The team will work with the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation and the Congressional Delegation to help identify state and federal resources.
Waterfront Park has been a 30-plus-year project with planning beginning with creation of the Waterfront Development Corporation in 1986, extensive public meetings in the late ‘80s, and the adoption of the original Waterfront Master Plan in 1992. Completion of the first three phases of Waterfront Park, and plans for Phase IV, have sparked more than $1.3 billion in investment in the surrounding area and built a program of more than 150 special events per year with an annual park attendance of more than 2 million visitors.
As part of Louisville’s economic momentum and in anticipation of the new park extension, the city is already enjoying new investment in west Louisville, including Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Heine Brothers’ headquarters, Old 502 Winery, Over the 9, and other exciting projects in the Portland neighborhood.