Groundbreaking held for new boat ramp at Shawnee Park (Jan. 17, 2020)

Officials hold a groundbreaking for a new boat ramp and parking area planned for Shawnee Park. Image taken Jan. 17, 2020.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A groundbreaking was held Friday for a new public boat ramp and parking area for Shawnee Park.

State and city officials joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer for the event. The project is spearheaded by Louisville Parks and Recreation and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and is expected to provide boaters with convenient river access blow McApline Locks and Dam and the Falls of the Ohio.

"This project shows the power of strong partnerships," Rich Storm, commissioner of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said in a statement. "Expanding access to the river is a win for the community and all anglers, boaters and hunters of the Commonwealth."

A news release describes the project as "a key infrastructure investment" supporting efforts to enhance outdoor recreation in west Louisville.

A new bicycle track was unveiled near the planned site of the boat ramp last year, and an outdoor education center is also planned nearby. Additionally, MSD recently installed an underground water basin in Shawnee Park and made made several million dollars worth of improvements. Those improvements include new basketball courts, new baseball fields, a new restroom and shelter, a new sprayground, an updated walking path and a newly paved road through the park.

"The new boat ramp in Shawnee Park will provide a highly sought-after recreational amenity in this historic Olmsted Park," Fischer said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing it used by anglers, canoers and those looking to simply get out on the water and have some fun. Our dive and rescue teams from the Louisville Fire and Louisville Metro Police departments also believe it will greatly enhance public safety with better access to the Ohio River. I want to thank Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for their partnership on this important project."

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife plans to build the two-lane concrete ramp along with an adjacent area for bank fishing access. 

The project is funded in part by a federal grant derived from dedicated excise taxes on equipment used for fishing and recreational boat motor fuels.

Construction could be finished as early as this fall.

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