Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
The Parklands at Floyds Fork is one of the nation’s largest metropolitan parks projects – scheduled to be completely open to the public by the end of 2015. The Parklands is comprised of four major parks in Louisville, connected by a park road, an urban trail system, and a canoe trail centered on a broad stream called Floyds Fork. Floyds Fork is a tributary of the Salt River (which drains into the Ohio River), running through eastern and southeastern portions of Jefferson County, Kentucky. It is the largest and least-polluted watershed in Louisville, but one which, formerly rural, is now undergoing rapid residential and commercial development.
Founded in 2004, 21st Century Parks is the nonprofit responsible for the creation and long-term operations of a system of new public parks in Louisville. The organization employs best practices in land use and infrastructure planning, watershed protection, education programming, historic preservation, multi-modal trail development, and design of recreational spaces. Working with their strategic partners, Louisville Metro Government and the nonprofit Future Fund, 21st Century Parks has acquired and protected into perpetuity nearly 3,800 acres of new park land in the Floyds Fork watershed corridor, resulting in one of the nation’s five largest new metropolitan parks projects – the only one that is 90% funded and scheduled to open to the public within five years.
To date, 21st Century Parks has secured $113 million for land acquisition and park development, and they hope to push toward a goal of $120 million by the end of 2012. From educational programs to world-class trail systems, they are building one of the finest and most exciting new park systems in the country; providing wellness, environmental, economic, and educational benefits that will thrive for generations.
To learn more about The Parklands at Floyds Flork, please visit 21st Century Parks.