Monday, April 21 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-04-21 09:09:50 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Parklands of Floyds Fork has reached its $120 million fundraising goal of its capital campaign. It is described as one of the most ambitious park projects in the nation.
It is only a 20-minute ride from downtown Louisville in Eastern Jefferson County, but it seems a world away.
The Parklands offers the best of what nature has to offer blended in with man made attractions. "This park is great, it is very updated and very safe for the kids," says Holly Byrnes, who lives nearby and on Monday brought her two small children to the modern playground.
The Parklands will actually be made up of four parks adjacent to one another and connected by roadways and bike paths.
Beckley Creek Park, just off Shelbyville Road was the first of the parks to open last fall. All four parks are bigger than Cherokee Park.
"I just love the serenity, the nice wide paths, we bring our dog out here, the facilities are fantastic," says John Ireland, who with his wife was out for a morning walk on Monday.
The park's new welcome and education center is now open. The PNC Center will be manned by trained park rangers.
"So what we try to do here," explains park director Scott Martin, "is introduce the science and history of the park, at one location you can know the stories of the landscape.
21st Century Parks is the non-profit organization that is building and operating the park. It has reached its fundraising goal for the construction of the park.
"We hit our goal of $120 million for the capital campaign just last Thursday," says Martin, "so Louisville really stepped up and made this one of the largest public-private partnership parks projects in the nation."
There will be another effort to raise money for maintenance and upkeep of the park which is expected to have an annual operating budget of four-and a-half to five million dollars. "It will always be free to come into the park and enjoy the great amenities," says Martin. "We don't receive tax dollars to keep the trash cans empty and the bathrooms clean, so we depend upon members annual giving campaigns and donations to keep us up and running."
The entire park system will run along the length of Floyd Fork from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road, about 20 miles. When the entire park system is completed in 2015, it will be five times the size of New York's Central Park.