LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Park System is about to get some much needed funding, focused on building equity and excellence.
“Because when my kids, when your kids, our grandkids, cousins, our little people visit Victory Park in the California neighborhood, don’t they deserve the best?” said Jecorey Arthur, who represents Louisville’s 4th district on the Metro Council.
That’s the goal for the Parks for All Action Plan developed by the nonprofit Parks Alliance of Louisville. The 15-year initiative aims to increase park system funding to reach the national average for other comparable-sized cities.
“In fact, we invest significantly less than other cities in both public and philanthropic spending,” said Brooke Pardue, president and CEO of the Parks Alliance of Louisville. “When you put it all together, Louisville averages just $43 in spending per resident versus $118 in our peer cities.”
Of the 120 parks, 14 community center, pools, golf courses, greenways, parkways and two historic homes, more than half are considered to be in poor condition.
“Many of the neighborhoods that could benefit the most from great parks, investment and recreation services have seen the least investment over time,” said Mayor Craig Greenberg. “We all pledge to change this with the new bold vision.”
The Parks Alliance of Louisville identified where to start by looking at the condition of each park as well as historical inequity and population density.
“Here are the first 37 sites that have been identified as the first, sedon and third priorities for capital investments,” Pardue said.
From there, the group separated the sites into three categories — top priority, second priority and third priority. The top priority includes 35th Street, Ballard, Baxter Square, California, G.G. Moore, Louis B. Israel, Magnolia, Memorial, Norfolk Acres, Parkhill, Slevin, St. Louis and Wayside.
Because of the largest challenge grant in the Parks Alliance history, those in the highest need will be getting some much needed changes.
The Brown family, including Owsley Brown III, Brooke Brown Barzun and Augusta Brown Holland, kicked off the initiative with a $1 million pledge, with hopes to inspire others to join in building parks for all.
The main emphases of the Parks for All Action Plan are to dedicate more financial resources over time to park and recreation services, and to restructure the Louisville Parks and Recreation Department’s policies, practices and operations to reflect national best practices.