Mayor Fischer opens Produce Park

July 15, 2016

Mayor Fischer today announced the opening of Produce Park, an urban orchard in the Russell neighborhood. The site, which was previously a vacant lot, has been made possible through $30,000 of funding awarded to Mayor Fischer’s Innovation & Delivery Team by the Bloomberg Fund. Execution of the project was made possible from the public/private partnership of the Vacant & Public Property Administration (VPPA), consultant Gresham Smith & Partners, and nonprofit organization Louisville Grows.

“Produce Park is achieving many goals including providing Russell residents with an opportunity to harvest and to learn about locally grown food, providing more greenspace to an area that deserves it and eliminating a vacant lot,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The space will be a terrific community-building place.” 

Produce Park, located at 441 S. 30th across the street from the future location of the West Louisville FoodPort, will be producing peaches, cherries, apples, plums and flowers for residents to harvest. The idea for Produce Park was spurned from the community engagement of VPPA’s RSquared—Reuse and Revitalize—initiative focusing in the Russell, Portland and Shawnee areas within the 40212 zip code. The community space is a three year project.

“We are excited to see the results of this community effort after a year of engagement with residents and stakeholders. RSquared is a new method of encouraging community-inspired redevelopment projects that put underutilized properties back into productive use,” VPPA Director Jeana Dunlap said. “We are doing this by creating opportunities to educate, engage, empower residents and then implement tangible projects on Metro public properties. We hope it inspires leaders from other areas to invite us in to create something unique for their neighborhoods.”

Gresham Smith & Partners served as the technical advisor for Produce Park and Louisville Grows, a nonprofit focused on promoting urban agriculture and forestry based in Portland, will serve as site manager. Louisville Grows plans to not only maintain the site but also to educate residents about the planting process so they can create their own gardens or orchards at home.  

Residents have also contributed to a mural painting filled with images of community and nature on the sides of an onsite shipping container that serves as onsite storage for the park. The project also received significant contributions from residents, community members, as well as Reading Rock, University of Kentucky College of Landscape Architecture and Patrick Henry Landscape Architects.

For more information on the Vacant & Public Property Administration, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/vacant-public-property-administration

For more information on Louisville Grows, please visit http://www.louisvillegrows.org/