Louisville receives grant for community-driven green space in Parkland neighborhood

November 20, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Louisville Metro received a $42,000 matching grant from Partners for Places, a project of The Funders Network, to fully fund the construction of a sustainable, community-driven green space called Parkland Plaza.

Currently, a vacant parking lot adjacent to the Parkland Community Garden at 28th and Dumesnil streets, the grant will transform this city-owned property, in the heart of the Parkland neighborhood, into a welcoming, well-shaded, community planned, cultural plaza. The new design and infrastructure will incorporate green and open space for outdoor performances, retail vendors and open-air seating, as well as a passive play area.

“This project adds an important green space to Parkland,” said Mayor Fischer. “It is vital that each neighborhood have a safe, attractive space for residents to gather and play, and we hope that this project will serve as an anchor for the neighborhood as community leaders continue working to revitalize the surrounding business district. I want to thank all of our partners and the community members who’ve shaped and supported this project.”

Partners for Places, a joint effort by The Funders Network (TFN) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), is a matching grant program that aims to enhance local capacity to build equitable and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada by pairing national funders with local government and local foundations. Partners for Places’ general grant program is supported by The JPB Foundation, Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, New York Community Trust, and the Pisces Foundation.

The $159,000 project is a partnership between residents of Parkland, Louisville Metro, Community Foundation of Louisville, Center for Neighborhoods and TreesLouisville. Louisville Metro has committed $44,000 to the project.

"TreesLouisville celebrates this collaboration to remove asphalt and provide shade and green space for the community. Anytime we can partner together to physically remove hardscape and provide a green neighborhood gathering space, we are mitigating our urban heat island effect. The Parkland Plaza will also help to improve air and water quality and the overall health of the Parkland neighborhood," said Cindi Sullivan, executive director and president of TreesLouisville.

Louisville Metro has signed an agreement with 1200 LLC, allowing the company to provide community programming on the site, including live music, theatrical performances, movie nights, holiday celebrations, farmers market, children's activities, and more.

“We at the Parkland Business & Development Association are truly grateful for the collective support and assistance to foster a quality and healthy community space,” said Tamika Jackson, president of the association, which is working to revitalize the neighborhood's business district. “The Parkland Plaza will further enhance the momentum to revive the historic Parkland district into a thriving corridor in the community.”

Prior to applying for the grant, Center for Neighborhoods (CFN) led focused community visioning, and together with residents built out enhancements, transforming the plaza site for two weeks in summer of 2019. This is part of CFN's Better Block Louisville program, which uses pop-up installations to envision how a vacant space can better serve the community. The design and amenities for Parkland Plaza, which will include play areas, shade, greenery and gathering space, are a product of two years of engagement, visioning, and volunteerism through CFN's partnership with area residents.

"What makes our Better Block Louisville program so great is that we work with neighbors to test their vision out in real time. I'm excited to see the collaborative investment in the Parkland neighborhood. CFN is always in it for the long haul, and this is what it means to stick with neighbors and support them in implementing their full community vision," said Tim Holz, Center For Neighborhoods Board President.

The community visioning work began in 2016 with the creation and adoption of the Parkland Neighborhood Plan. The community vision is for a vibrant and activated civic space at the heart of Parkland’s historic town center that builds on the significant civil rights legacy of this area, the success of the communal garden and the ongoing work to reinvigorate the historic business district.

“I am so excited about the continued revitalization of the Parkland neighborhood. Thank you to all of the community partners who made this happen. Parkland is one of the most beautiful and historic neighborhoods in the entire city.  The Parkland Plaza will be a beautiful addition to an already wonderful neighborhood. Parkland continues to rise, and I am thrilled to see the momentum continuing," said Councilwoman Jessica Green, District 1.

This once thriving Black commercial corridor included a grocery, bakeries, hardware stores, a bank, and theaters. Much of the business district was damaged following civil unrest in 1968 in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the actions of the local government. The neighborhood was further harmed by urban renewal, redlining and historic disinvestment. The new plaza will provide a shady and safe place for neighbors to gather, relax, play and reminisce.

“The Community Foundation of Louisville is honored to support this collaborative project through a $42,000 matching grant to TreesLouisville. We help our fundholders understand the unique challenges facing our community and facilitate ways they can respond through philanthropy,” said Heather Cash, Community Foundation Vice President of Development and Stewardship. “This gift created an opportunity for us to help a fundholder support the mission of a nonprofit close to their heart and play a small role in helping this local project attract more funding.”

Louisville Metro last received a Partners for Places grant in 2015 for the Green for Good project, which studied the effects of a massive tree planting at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School and served as a pilot for the Green Heart Project.

For updates on the Parkland Plaza project, visit www.parklandplaza.com. 

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