Louisville Waterfront Park
Li Jing   May 06.2016


Phase I of Waterfront Park consists of approximately 55 acres (220,000 m2) and was dedicated on July 4, 1999. Louisville architects Bravura Corporation, together with Hargreaves Associates, were the designers of the park. Much of the park, such as the Great Lawn, had opened to the public by the fall of 1998. The initial development cost was about $58 million, a combination of public and private money.The site of the park was previously used for industrial purposes: scrap yards, sand pits and other industrial sites.

The park hosted hundreds of events in its first full season of use, including outdoor concerts and other festivals, with an estimated total attendance of more than a million people. There were problems early-on with the grass being too easily worn down by visitors.

Reason to Be Selected

Phase II of the park opened on June 10, 2004, and added approximately 17 acres (69,000 m²), including the Adventure Playground, which opened in July 2003. Included is an esplanade along the river's edge and a cafe plaza where the Tumbleweed cafe opened in Spring 2005. The park also contains the Brown-Formanamphitheater, docks for transient boaters, and an area for a new rowing facility. The latter is used for the University of Louisville Women's Rowing Team, school and community rowing groups.Construction on part of Phase III began in late Spring 2005, to add 13 acres (53,000 m²) and include the conversion of the former Big Four Railroad bridgegoing between the park and Jeffersonville, Indiana's waterfront park into a pedestrian bridge. Several more lawn areas, tree groves, walking paths, and picnic areas will also be added. As of May 2007 it is not clear when the long-planned conversion will begin, as funding has not yet been found.

In 2006, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public agency that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter visitors from bathing in the large public fountain. Karem initiated a plan that was dependent on the average park visitor's "lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup", and arranged for signs that read: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT". The signs were posted on the fountain at public expense. As it is true that ordinary water molecules each contain two atoms of hydrogen, and thus posed no danger, it is considered one of many water-related hoaxes.In February 2011, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that the two states, along with the City of Jeffersonville, will allocate $22 million in funding to complete the Big Four Bridge project– creating a pedestrian and bicycle path to link Louisville and Jeffersonville. Indiana will spend up to $8 million and the City of Jeffersonville will provide $2 million in matching dollars to pay for construction of a ramp to the Big Four Bridge. Kentucky is pledging $12 million to replace the deck on the bridge and connect it to the spiral ramp that has been completed in Waterfront Park. The Big Four Bridge is open to pedestrians and cyclists on the Louisville side. The Jeffersonville ramp for The Big Four Bridge, known to locals as the Walking Bridge, was scheduled for August 2013, but has been pushed back to November 2013.

In July 2012, Jeffersonville City officials unveiled plans for a plaza, dubbed the "Big Four Station", costing approximately $3 million that will surround the new ramp, to be completed in early 2013, from the Big Four pedestrian bridge. The plaza was to include a covered playground, fountain, stage, pavilion and plenty of green space. The new plaza was expected to be finished by early 2014.The bridge was completed in May 2014 with the opening of the Jeffersonville ramp.


Lat: 38.1888
Lng: -85.6768
Region: NorthAmerica
Scale: District
Field: Landscape
City: Louisville/Jefferson County metro government (balance)