Multi-million dollar makeover begins at Louisville's Shawnee Par - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Multi-million dollar makeover begins at Louisville's Shawnee Park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A multi-million dollar makeover is underway at Louisville's Shawnee Park.

The historic park is getting a nearly $2.5 million facelift, including the historic Dirt Bowl basketball court.

Marvin Travis has fond memories of the Dirt Bowl.

“I'm probably one of the only few that have won two Dirt Bowls on two different courts,” Travis told WDRB.

As Travis rode his bicycle through Shawnee Park, he was pleased to see work beginning on the upgrade to the iconic basketball courts.

“It's going to make some of us want to get back in shape, and try to play again - maybe,” Travis laughed.

Marty Storch of Metro Parks told WDRB new seating is being added, as well as a new scoreboard, new basketball goals, electricity and a new playing surface.

“We're putting in a new rubberized surface, one of a kind. This will be the best basketball courts that we have in our community,” said Storch.

The park makeover also includes renovation of a vacant bathhouse to be used for a children's outdoor education program.

The Lilly Pond is getting much-needed attention, as are the sports fields. New trees are being planted, streets paved, and more.

“The old restroom which was on the east side of the park, next to the parkway, is getting torn down, rebuilt to a new restroom, a plaza and an open air pavilion,” Storch said.

It is all being paid for by the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) as part of its Shawnee basin project.

The $60 million facility is being built as part of a federal mandate to prevent waste water from pouring into the Ohio River.

The underground basin will occupy about 10 percent of the park. In exchange MSD is paying for improvements.

“They worked with us and the Olmsted Conservancy talking about, OK, what are the things that really need to be taken care of,” said Storch.

Marvin Travis is glad to see the investment in the 150-year-old park.

"We're worth it. Simple as that. We're worth it down here."

The park renovation is scheduled to be finished in about three years, coinciding with the completion of the basin.

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