Champions Park

Work continues to restore Champions Park in Louisville after heavy rains during a music festival caused damage, Jan. 10, 2019. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nearly four months after a music festival turned into more of a mud festival, work is still being done to restore the park where it was held.

Held annually at Louisville’s Champions Park, the Bourbon and Beyond music festival draws thousands every year, and 2018 was no different. But torrential rain showers on day one of the festival created "unsafe conditions" for the festival to continue.

"We have deep respect for the city’s determination to do everything it could to keep the festival going," said concert organizer Danny Hayes with Danny Wimmer Presents. "But we also agree with the decision that safety must come first."

As a result, the even more popular Louder Than Life festival was canceled the following weekend.

Since then, crews have worked to repair the damage left behind at the park caused by equipment, vehicles and the thousands of people that trampled through the rain-soaked fields. The soccer fields at the park remain closed but are expected to be in playable condition by April.

"We've been battling Mother Nature all year," said Director of Special Events for Metro Louisville Marty Storch. "You can look up and down River Road, and ditches are still full of water."

As of Wednesday, work was still being done to level certain areas of Champions Park and restore it to pre-festival condition. However, rain has caused delays and setbacks. Louisville saw more than 68 inches of rain in 2018, the most in the city's recorded history.

"It made it very difficult for the Parks and Recreation Department to get out here and get the work done," Storch said Thursday. "I may be the only person in Louisville, Kentucky, that is happy that we have frozen conditions."

Shortly after the festival, concerns were raised about a landfill buried beneath several soccer fields at the site. The landfill is comprised mostly of various storm damage debris and incinerator ash, some of which would be considered hazardous. However, an environmental firm hired by the city found no breach of the landfill cap occurred.

The soccer fields were the top priority for crews once repair work began.

"Where we were able to get on right away looks really good, and the rest of it will get there," Storch said. "The frozen conditions are allowing the Parks and Recreation Department to get out there and focus on some of the other areas."

Danny Wimmer Presents is footing the bill for the repairs.

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Travis Ragsdale joined WDRB in Jan. 2015. He focuses primarily on investigative reporting involving police, local government and infrastructure. He can be reached at 502-585-0817