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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB News) -- It's a great place to escape the rat race and get back to nature, and it is just 20 miles from downtown Louisville.
Louisville is known for its great parks -- Cherokee, Shawnee, and Seneca. On Saturday a new one will be formally dedicated in Eastern Jefferson County on Shelbyville Road.
It is Beckley Creek Park, one of four parks that make up the Parklands of Floyds Fork, in the planning and development stages for more than a decade.
Each of the four parks that make up the Parklands is bigger than Cherokee. "What we are doing is the exact same thing Frederick Law Olmsted did in the 1880's and 90's, where you jump ahead of development and you put parks ahead of the houses," says Parks Director Scott Martin.
A ribbon cutting and activities start at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Beckley Creek Park. "We are excited," says Martin, "because we've been working like mad designing and constructing and the moment of joy is actually when you get to see people play with it."
Heather Frazer and her family have already done that, having checked out the new park. She says, "You've got biking trails, walking trails, areas where you can have picnics, nice bathrooms, it is all around awesome."
The entire 4,000 acre park system is along more than 20 miles of Floyds Fork in southeastern Jefferson County. Manmade attractions have been built to fit in with the natural beauty of the landscape.
There is a two-mile section of the Louisville Loop now open of the 20 miles being built in the park. The loop someday will wrap around 100 miles of Jefferson County.
There are now more than two miles of soft service trails that are for hiking and biking, plus fishing platforms and accessibility to lakes and ponds.
Humana founder David Jones has led the fundraising effort to build the park system that basically runs from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road. $117 million of the $120 million dollar goal has been raised.
No taxpayer dollars will be used to maintain the park, which is overseen by the non-profit organization 21st Century Parks. "As a parks system we are donor supported organization," explains Martin, "so taxpayer funds do not pay for our operations, that is a whole different park model.
The entire park system is still on schedule to be completed by 2015.