Environment

Another 16 acres of land has been donated for a major park along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana.

The Jeffersonville-Clarksville Flood District announced the land grant for Origin Park last week. The 16 acres are near the intersection of Croghan Street and Emery Crossing, just off Brown’s Station Way.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who is also the Chair of the flood district, outlined in a press release ways he believes the land transfer will benefit the area, including taking strain off local levees.

“The land will be conserved as a hardwood wetland in perpetuity,” Moore said in the release. “This type of habitat functions as sanctuary for over 50 species of migratory songbirds that pass through our region annually. Finally, by joining with the non-profit Conservancy, the District is helping leverage finite public and private resources necessary to bring a world-class and iconic public park to the Ohio River’s North Shore communities.”

The park will be set on 600 acres of land between New Albany and Clarksville.

About 50% of the property needed for the park has now been acquired, according to Scott Martin, the executive director of River Heritage Conservancy, the group behind Origin Park.

“It’s 16 critical acres to the park plan, because it is adjacent to the shoreline of the Ohio River and has some of the most precious and rare landscapes we have in our region,” Martin said.

“And those are those wetland forests that used to define the entire Ohio River Valley. This particular parcel has the trees, the plants and the animals that called this place home long before we showed up and really is one of the last refuges where those species in our urban environment here.”

Martin will  lead a hike through the property on Saturday. He and members of the public will meet at 10 a.m. to embark on a 2-hour trek. Those interested in participating can sign up here.

“The whole deal with parks and landscapes is knowing the land and actually walking it and seeing it,” Martin said. “These are just opportunities for folks to get out with me. We walk and we browse, and you get to meet the land intimately on its terms.”

Martin said land acquisition will continue to be the first priority moving forward. Park officials are expected to reveal plans for the first portion of development soon.

John Boyle covers southern Indiana communities and health for WFPL News. He is a Report for America Corps member.