A new boat ramp in West Louisville is providing Ohio River access in Shawnee Park for the first time in more than 60 years. 

It’s a part of the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative, which aims to increase access to outdoor access for families. 

The new ramp will provide access to the lower part of the river and will allow the upcoming Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center to provide more water learning programs. 

District 5 Louisville Metro Councilwoman Donna Purvis hopes the new boat ramp will bring more development to the river in the district. 

“I just hope that it is fully utilized,” Purvis said. “I hope that people practice safe habits in boating and I just hope it’s something that the community can take advantage of and enjoy.”

For her constituents with boats, this new boat ramp will provide them with the opportunity to access the river closer to home instead of going to the Greenwood Boat Docks or the Cox Park Boat Ramp. Purvis also mentioned the Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center and what the boat ramp can bring to it.

“It’s going to introduce children in this part of town to things they’ve never seen before,” Purvis said. “It’ll be a new day for them in exposure and learning and even with boating.”

Jessica Kane, the program manager for the Natural Areas Division at Jefferson Memorial Forest, says the ramp is only one part of the larger picture.

“In general, it really allows us to expand the programming that’s already there,” Kane said. “The Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center is a part of that West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative and it is intended to be an outdoor education recreation hub.”