LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's been described as one of the most ambitious park projects in the nation, and it is right here in Louisville.
On Thursday, WDRB News talked with Humana co-founder David Jones who continues to lead the fund raising efforts for the Parklands of Floyds Fork.
Construction crews are putting the final touches on Pope Lick Park, which opens on Friday. It is the second phase of the Parklands of Floyds Fork.
"Opening the second park for me, it is just gorgeous to see all of that effort turned into what we see now," says Jones.
Jones has spent a decade raising the $122 million to build the system of four parks that will run from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road. No tax money will be used to operate the parks.
That is why Jones, at 82 years old, continues to raise money for an endowment for park maintenance. "This is going to be a donor supported park," says Jones. "We intend that it always will be clean and safe and therefore well loved."
At 677 acres, Pope Lick Park is more than twice the size of Cherokee Park.
Five miles of the Louisville Loop run through the new section. It has a half-mile, tree-lined walkway called the Promenade that leads to a wetland area. There are pedestrian and bike paths, picnic areas, and trails.
Jones says during the past year 40,000 new trees have been planted. "As the years go by this is going to look like Cherokee Park, fifty years from now," says Jones.
The first section of the Parklands, Beckley Creek Park, opened last November. Besides the many walking trails it has a spray park and dog park that have drawn thousands of people.
Of all the civic activities that Jones has been involved in, he says raising money for the new parks system is one of the most satisfying. "In terms of impact on the community and longevity, I would say it is the finest thing I have been honored to be a part of," says Jones.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Friday morning to open the second phase to the public. The entire parklands is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
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