by Dalen Barlow —
A project is in the works to bring a modern botanical garden to Louisville’s waterfront. While the project is not yet under construction, there is a vast amount of support from the community and the city. With the master plan for the garden recently released, many are wondering where the garden will be, and what will actually be there.
The current plans have he garden to be built the 23 acre lot at the intersection of Frankfort Avenue and River Road. The current space was once home to a city dump, but has since grown into a lush area with many trees neighbored by Beargrass Creek.
“I believe it’s a wonderful idea. The mayor is behind the project and really excited for it to come to Louisville,” said John Gilderbloom, professor in urban and public affairs at U of L.
Botanica, Incorporated is the organization that is over the project. The project design that was released recently showed the garden containing a visitor’s center, water filtration garden, planted trellis, children’s garden, conservatory, education pavilion and a Beargrass Creek overlook. All of these things would come together to create the Waterfront Botanical Gardens.
While the project is in good support by the community of and the city, it still hasn’t gotten the necessary funding needed to get construction started in the area. The plan breaks the construction of the garden into two stages. The first stage would have a price tag of around $10 million. The second stage would finish the garden and hopefully open the park completely by 2019. Overall, the estimated cost of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens would wind up in the area of $35 million dollars.
While this is a substantial amount of money, the garden has gained so much support that raising the money doesn’t seem to be proving that hard of a task. The garden has already received many donations through the Botanica website. Currently there is a $225,000 matching gift pledge that was taken by Emil and Nancy Graeser. This means that for every amount that is donated to the garden, the Graeser’s will match that gift, up to $225,000.
“I absolutely believe this will happen. Great cities have great botanical gardens. So if Louisville wants to become a great city, we need to do this kind of investment.”
To find out more about the proposal and to see complete renderings of the gardens, visit www.waterfrontgardens.org.