Community

Jeffersonville leaders officially opened another new park in the city Tuesday.

Shirley’s Arbor consists of 14 acres along Woehrle Road near Charlestown-Jeffersonville Pike. The park boasts a half-mile walking trail and five workout stations

The park will serve a dual purpose by alleviating flooding problems in the area with its retention pond. Mayor Mike Moore said the area has frequently been inundated with water during storms over the years.

Shirley’s Arbor will allow runoff from about six neighborhoods to flow into a wetland-type area.

“It’s not only a beautiful park, but it’s going to give so much relief to all of the neighborhoods around there,” Moore said. “Flooding in that area after a downpour has been notoriously one of the weakest places in Jeff. This is going to have a huge impact on assisting all the drainage concerns.”

The park’s name, like the road on which it’s located, pays homage to Shirley Woehrle, whose family once owned the land. Moore said Woehrle and her husband, John, played a major role in his life when he was growing up.

“There’s a nice fishing pond near the area, and it’s where my dad taught me how to fish,” he said. “We always called the pond ‘John’s Pond.’ To have ‘Shirley’s Arbor’ next to that is satisfying.”

Shirley’s Arbor is the second major park in Jeffersonville to open this year. The 116-acre Chapel Lake Park opened in May.

Moore says the city didn’t have many green space amenities when he was growing up. He said he’s worked to change that during his tenure as mayor.

“Jeffersonville was always the home where people had their jobs at JeffBoat, the Army ammunition plant or the Census Bureau,” he said. “To go and do something with your family for an afternoon picnic or toss a football around, people went someplace else to do that… I just saw some of the void that the City of Jeff had. An emphasis on our parks and quality of life just seemed like something we needed to do.”

Moore said a third park is planned along Spring Street, and could eventually be home to the city’s winter ice skating rink. Like Shirley’s Arbor, it will be more than a green space.

A large drainage system that will ease flooding issues in Jeffersonville’s downtown area will be beneath the yet-to-be-named park.

“People come into our city and love the attention we’re giving to quality of life,” Moore said. “There’s a way to do smart things that fix people’s problems and, at the same time, make a piece of property have a secondary dual purpose, like having a nice walking trail, ice skating rink or art exhibits on display. Everybody wins.”

Work on the Spring Street project began earlier this year.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.