Louisville has broken ground on a major renovation of Sheppard Park in the Russell neighborhood. The $600,000 project will add a spray ground, congo drum play area, restrooms, picnic tables and walking path markers to the park.
Reverend David Snardon was at Monday’s groundbreaking, representing the community. Snardon said he hopes the move opens more development in the Russell neighborhood.
“It’s our prayer with the community of concerned pastors of Russell that this will be the beginning of much more development, much more community development, much more neighborliness in this community that is well-deserved — well needed,” Snardon said. “These children will be benefited in this community at this park and will have a safe place for their family and friends to come learn, play and be together.”
Funding for part of Sheppard Park’s renovation came from Louisville Metro government. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has encouraged further economic and business development in the Russell neighborhood.
Other funding came from a $29.5 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. The grant’s purpose is to revitalize Russell, which has witnessed economic deprivation and, over the past 14 years, has a higher murder count than any other Louisville neighborhood.
Jackie Floyd, the president of Russell’s neighborhood association, said the area’s residents are caring people who want a safer neighborhood for their kids to play.
“I love my community,” Floyd said. “We know we’ve got a long way to go — 5 to 7 years — and where we’ll end up is with a safer, healthier and thriving community.”
The park’s renovations should be completed by spring 2018.