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Renovations underway on Chickasaw Park pond in west Louisville

Renovations to the pond and pedestrian bridge at Chickasaw Park are underway in Louisville.
Roberto Roldan
Renovations to the pond and pedestrian bridge at Chickasaw Park are underway in Louisville.

The 61-acre park is the only one of Louisville’s beloved Olmsted Parks that was specifically designated for Black residents. Opened in the 1930s, the Chickasaw Park pond is also the only public pond in the West End. While the park has undergone some restoration work in recent years, the pond was in desperate need of dredging and other maintenance. Metro Council set aside $2.5 million in federal COVID-19 funds for that purpose last April.

Metro Council member Donna Purvis, whose district includes Chickasaw Park, said at a press conference Monday that the renovation is long overdue.

“There’s a lot of history and a lot of love there [from the community],” Purvis said. “We’re finally getting some of the things we deserved for years: enhancements, introducing our children to nature, updating the lodge.”

The renovation of the pond is just one of a number of active projects in Chickasaw Park. The lodge, built in 1951, is getting a facelift. A new natural playground is being built along the Ohio River.

A plan of the renovations that will take place at Chickasaw Park. (Courtesy Louisville Metro)

Mayor Craig Greenberg said the improvements are part ofthe city’s plan to invest more in public parks and do it equitably. Last year, Metro Council adopted the Parks Alliance’s Parks for All plan, which calls for more investment in the city’s public parks. The group says Louisville Metro spends just $40 per resident on parks compared to $107 per resident in peer cities.

“It might take some imagination today to think about how beautiful and amazing this pond is going to be when it’s complete,” Greenberg said. “You’ll once again see kids fishing with fishing poles in the water. You’ll see people kayaking and canoeing and people just enjoying the beautiful space.”

Work on the Chickasaw Park pond is expected to be finished by the end of this year or early 2024. The renovations will include new walking paths, a revamped pedestrian bridge and a one-acre pollinator meadow dedicated to Louisville legend Muhammad Ali.

This story has been updated.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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