Free fun, exercise and teamwork is in the mix this spring as Louisville Parks and Recreation is offering a free tee-ball league for children ages six and under.
Sign-ups will continue through March 6, and again, participation is free. Parents can sign up at louisvillerbi.leagueapps.com or at the following community centers:
Games begin April 11 and will be played at Wyandotte Park, 1104 Beecher Street, 40215. Louisville Parks and Recreation is also seeking coaches and volunteers to help run the league. For more information, call (502) 574-4515 or e-mail Brady Buckley.
Louisville Parks and Recreation is partnering with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) program to increase interest and participation in the game of baseball and softball as well as to encourage academic participation and the value of teamwork. RBI operates in 200 cities worldwide.
One of Louisville’s signature parks is adding a new feature certain to draw more visitors to the area and enhance the opportunity for recreational enjoyment of the Ohio River.
A public boat ramp and accompanying parking area planned for Shawnee Park will provide boaters with convenient river access below McAlpine Locks and Dam and the renowned Falls of the Ohio.
On Friday, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Rich Storm joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other city officials in breaking ground near the park’s Louisville Loop trailhead for the joint project between Louisville Parks and Recreation and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
“This project shows the power of strong partnerships,” Storm said. “Expanding access to the river is a win for the community and all anglers, boaters and hunters of the Commonwealth.”
River-based recreation is important for many in Louisville, Jefferson County and the surrounding areas. That mirrors the interest in outdoor recreation across the state.
Each year, more than 2 million people fish, hunt, boat, or participate in other wildlife-related recreation in Kentucky.
“Fishing, hunting and boating are vital to Kentucky’s adventure tourism industry,” Berry said. “Together with wildlife watching, they contribute more than $5.9 billion to Kentucky’s economy.”
The project is a key infrastructure investment supporting the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative to improve equitable access to nature in the community.
Last year, the city’s ECHO (Engaging Children Outdoors) program unveiled a new bicycle track near the planned boat ramp, and future plans include a modern outdoor education center to be nearby.
The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) recently installed an underground water basin in Shawnee Park and has made several million dollars worth of improvements there. Those include new basketball courts at the site of the historic Dirt Bowl, new baseball fields, a new restroom and shelter, a new sprayground and 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,” Mayor Fischer said. “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 maintains more than 160 ramps statewide and its crews will build the two-lane concrete ramp at Shawnee Park. It also plans to create an area adjacent to the ramp for bank fishing access.
For its portion of the project, the department is using Sport Fish Restoration Program grant funds, which are derived from dedicated federal excise taxes on equipment used for fishing, and recreational boat motor fuels.
Louisville Parks and Recreation has contracted with private firms on the design and construction of an access road and parking area large enough to accommodate more than two dozen vehicles and boat trailers.
Construction could be finished this fall, barring inclement weather or other conditions that could potentially delay the project’s completion.
Designed by landscape architect and conservationist Frederick Law Olmsted, Shawnee Park sits along the Ohio River in Louisville’s west end just minutes from Interstate 264.
The new Shawnee Park ramp will provide a second Jefferson County location for boaters to enjoy the Cannelton Pool of the Ohio River, and it will be the closest Kentucky ramp downstream of McAlpine Locks and Dam and the Falls of the Ohio.
“The Ohio River is a tremendous resource for recreational boaters, and the Falls of the Ohio area offers some of the best fishing in the state,” Storm said. “Beyond improving recreational access, this ramp also will help our conservation officers’ efforts on the water and ongoing efforts to fight the spread of Asian carp. The Falls of the Ohio is a moderate barrier to these invasive fish, and the Cannelton Pool is the farthest pool upriver where we are seeing Asian carp in large numbers. We continue to work with our counterparts in Indiana to facilitate commercial removal of Asian carp in this area, and the Shawnee Park ramp will provide another access point to help make that happen.”
An evaluation team will soon review 13 bids submitted during a Request For Proposals (RFP) process for the management, operation and maintenance of Louisville’s public golf courses, according to an update provided today to Louisville Metro Council President David James by Chief Financial Officer Daniel Frockt and Parks and Recreation Director Dana Kasler.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced earlier this year the city may be forced to make adjustments to the management, operation and maintenance of the 10 city golf courses as part of a series of cuts necessitated by the state of Kentucky’s pension crisis and a lack of new revenue sources.
On Sept. 13, 2019, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), for management, operation, and maintenance of the courses.
The RFP process closed Oct. 22. The next step is for an evaluation team to review the proposals with a tentative completion date of Nov. 18, 2019. Following subsequent negotiations, the goal is to award a new contract(s) for operations by Dec. 31, 2019.
“We are taking great care to ensure a smooth process during this transition period,” Kasler said. “I am confident the review team will diligently explore the options found within these 13 proposals to help retain municipal golf in the city.”
Louisville Parks and Recreation golf courses are Metro-owned and currently managed independently by PGA professionals whose contracts are up at the end of 2019 – except for Quail Chase, where the contract expires December 31, 2024.
“This RFP process is designed to assist us in making the smartest and most fiscally responsible decisions for the taxpayers of this community,” Frockt said. “We also believe it will lead to more streamlined and improved golf course operations, which in this strained budget climate is critical.”
In the update to the Council president, Frockt and Kasler clarified that records related to the process will be kept confidential until a contract is awarded, under a process established per Kentucky state law to eliminate the potential of undue influence and impropriety on the evaluation team.
Also, no council members will serve on the evaluation upon the recommendation from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office.
Frockt and Kasler also noted that Metro Government will continue to follow the union contract regarding Louisville Parks and Recreation golf course staff during this transition period. “Therefore,” they wrote, “no Metro Council member or body may bind Metro government into any manner of collective bargaining agreement, side letter revision, or memorandum of understanding (MOU).”
The letter also provided an update on course operations through the end of the year, when most lease agreements expire.
Because the PGA professionals at Shawnee, Crescent Hill and Charlie Vettiner have submitted their resignations, the letter said, Louisville Parks and Recreation, per ordinance, will staff those courses.
Beginning on January 1, 2020, course operations will fall under the new contracts awarded through the RFP process. Those courses not awarded a contract will be operated by Louisville Parks and Recreation.
The popular Tom Owen CycLOUvia returns to Bardstown Road on Sunday, Oct. 20. The popular event showcases alternative transit and is named in honor of former District 8 Councilman Tom Owen, a lifelong advocate for bicycles and pedestrians in our community.
The event route is shortened this year due to budget constraints. The road will be closed to vehicular traffic along Bardstown Road from Douglass Boulevard to Highland Avenue from 2 to 6 p.m. Police will facilitate motor crossings at Grinstead Drive and Eastern Parkway.
“This fun event brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to promote healthy habits, sustainable modes of transit, and safety,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “CycLOUvia also gives residents the opportunity to celebrate the small businesses along a car-free Bardstown Road.”
Commercial establishments with frontage along the Bardstown Road corridor are encouraged to open their businesses during event hours and to engage participants.
During CycLOUvia, streets are opened to people of all ages, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds looking to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Since 2012, CycLOUvia events have attracted tens of thousands of people to neighborhoods across the city. CycLOUvia promotes healthy lifestyles, alternative transportation, safety, and economic development.
For more information, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/advanced-planning/cyclouvia.
The Canoemobile is coming back to Shawnee and Riverview Parks on Oct. 4-5 for its eighth year on the banks of the Ohio River.
The Canoemobile allows residents ages three and older to take guided trips in 24-foot canoes on the Ohio River. Canoe trips are free. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian in order to participate. No advance sign-ups are required, wavers can be signed on-site or brought with the participants.
This free event is designed for individuals and families who are new to canoeing to experience the water in safe and stable voyageur canoes which hold 10 to 15 people.
All safety equipment and trained staff are provided. Wear comfortable outdoor clothing that can get wet; no flip flops please.
All safety equipment and trained staff are provided by Wilderness Inquiry.
Complimentary t-shirts will be given to those who participate, while supplies last. For more information, call (502) 368-6856.
Waivers for Participation:
Friday, October 4, 2019
10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
4501 West Broadway
Saturday, October 5, 2019
10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
8202 Greenwood Road
The Beechmont Community Center and Louisville City FC will be hosting the second annual Soccer Skills Clinic at the outdoor futsal court on Saturday, September 21 and Saturday, September 28.
Beechmont is located just off Southern Parkway at 205 W. Wellington Avenue, 40214. The clinic, which is targeted for boys and girls 5-13 years of age, is free of charge. The clinic will begin at 10 a.m. sharp and end at noon each day.
Jacob Hazel, an organizer of the clinic, says that while experienced players may find something to learn at Beechmont, the fun, interactive games put on by Louisville City FC reps are meant to appeal to beginners and intermediate players.
To register for the clinic, please call (502) 361-5484, e-mail Jacob.Hazel@louisvilleky.gov.
Mayor Greg Fischer joined Metro Council members, the Commission on Public Art, artist Todd C. Smith, and community partners at the base of the Big Four Bridge to unveil Bike Sense Louisville, a public art project that will promote healthy lifestyle habits and provide new data on the city’s air quality and temperature.
Using sensor units that fit into cyclists’ water bottle holders, data is collected about the cyclists’ speed and location, as well as the temperature and air quality outside. The data is then translated into sound that is streamed in both real-time on the Bike Sense website and broadcast over the Big Four Bridge speakers.
“Bike Sense encompasses our city’s core values of lifelong learning and health by incorporating science and exercise into public art,” said the Mayor. “This project will get people moving, either as volunteer cyclists collecting environmental data or as pedestrians crossing the Big Four Bridge to listen to the sounds created.”
The data will be publicly available and support the work of University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute.
“The Center for Healthy Air Water and Soil and the Superfund Research Center in the UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute are partnering with the innovative Bike Sense project to raise awareness of the health risks posed by many volatile organic compounds,” said Dr. Ted Smith, Deputy Director of the Envirome Institute. “We look forward to providing technical assistance and health risk information to the project and its many cycling participants.”
The project was selected by the Commission on Public Art through a call for artists and is funded through a mix of private donations, public dollars, and an ArtsMatch grant from Fund for the Arts.
“By collecting volunteer cycling data that considers location as well as environmental factors, like temperature and air quality, we could learn a lot about where people are biking and how healthy it is to bike here. The sound part of the project was my creative way of sharing this data with the public,” said artist Todd C. Smith. “The bridge is a public space that sees thousands of pedestrians and cyclists and is the symbol of connection for the Kentuckiana region. I look forward to seeing how this year-long project progresses.”
For more information, visit BikeSense.net.