Phase Four of Waterfront Park in the early planning stages - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Phase Four of Waterfront Park in the early planning stages

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It took 25 years to finish the first three phases of Louisville's Waterfront Park.

Now there is a Phase Four in the planning stages.

With the Big Four Bridge now open on both sides of the Ohio River, Waterfront Park appears to be complete -- but Phase Four proposes to expand the park westward, toward the Portland neighborhood.

If plans eventually become a reality, a 22-acre site that now mostly is overgrown weeds, would be the extension of the park.

The Waterfront Development Corporation is working with a consultant to come up with a preliminary concept of what the park might look like when it is finished. Some of the features include plazas with lots of greenery and flowers, playgrounds where kids could get a lot of exercise, a plaza that extends out over the river and steps down to the river.

The consultant estimates that turning the land into a park that would include some unique artwork would cost about $35 million.

"A great deal of Waterfront Park was built by funds that came from Frankfort, and private donations, and city money," said the president of the Waterfront Development Corporation, David Karem. "It's a dream, but I think it is one that has real potential to become a reality."

The $35 million would not include what it would cost to extend River Road west, which Karem calls crucial to the project.

Karem believes the extension of the park would help connect the Portland neighborhood to downtown.

"This could be a big catalyst to break the Ninth Street barrier and having it been seen as one continuing park," he said.

A final consultant's report is due out in about a month, and then the difficult part begins of finding the money to fund the expansion.

Adds Karem, "It will need the support of the mayor, the Metro Council, Waterfront Development, the Jefferson County legislative delegation, and the governor."

Even if the project continues to move forward, it will be at least a decade to complete the expansion.

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