LOUISVILLE Ky. — A popular downtown park in Louisville could be getting a makeover soon.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Andy Beshear proposed $10 million to expand Waterfront Park into west Louisville

  • The city approved the phase IV plan in 2015 to expand the park west, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

  • The total cost for the expansion upon its completion will be $50 million

  • Organizers are hoping to break ground on the newest expansion of Waterfront Park next year

This week, Gov. Andy Beshear proposed $10 million as part of the next state budget to expand phase IV of Waterfront Park into West Louisville.

City green spaces like Waterfront Park make life better for residents like Delano Bailey and his puppy Peaches, but all too often not everyone has equal access to such amenities.

"When it's warmer I will probably go five days out of the week, probably for a couple hours out of the day," explains Bailey, when asked how often he goes to Waterfront Park.

The father of two has lived in west Louisville for a decade.

The 45-year-old pointed to neglected spaces in his community. He said it's important to increase parks and accessibility to green and open spaces for all neighborhoods, regardless of zip code.

"I think it’s very important to the kids and the grown ups to have access to park like that so they can exercise," he said.

Metro Council President David James said the city of Louisville is working toward creating equitable park accessibility opportunities. This includes expanding Waterfront Park west into the Portland and Russell neighborhoods between 10th and 14th streets.

"Having this opportunity for the governor to show leadership of investing $10 million into west Louisville for the west side of Waterfront Park is going to be a game changer," James said.

The expansion will include a large observation pier, an interactive learning center and several gardens.

The total cost for the expansion will be $50 million.

"As it moves west, it will allow people and the residential neighborhoods of west Louisville to be able to walk to the park and enjoy the park like everybody does," James explained.

The general assembly has the final say on the state budget, however James noted there’s plenty of funding available thanks to a state surplus.

"If not now then I don’t know when. The state government budget has a surplus right now, and so if there’s an opportunity for state government to help with Waterfront Park, the time is now," said James.

Neighbors like Bailey believe the expansion will make a difference and say it's long overdue.

"There’s a big need. It’s a big hole, a big void, that needs to be filled," Bailey said.

He says a simple, structural change to the neighborhood environment can improve safety and make it more convenient for people to enjoy the public space.

"I think they need to focus more on the west end because if people had more things to do, more access to things, like parks it would probably cut down on the violence," Bailey added.

The city approved the phase IV plan in 2015 to expand the park west according to Mayor Greg Fischer. In the meantime, James is asking everyone to call state lawmakers to ensure future funding.

"I think it's important that everyone call their state legislature and encourage them to pass this as part of the governor’s budget," said James.

Organizers are hoping to break ground on the newest expansion of Waterfront Park next year.