Residents of west Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood have new greenspace to use on Dumesnil Street.
The park hosts a grand opening Saturday, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. including an unveiling of the plaza’s mural. Additionally, there will be food, vendors and performances from local groups like the River City Drum Corps.
Before construction began last fall, the Parkland Plaza was a parking lot. The space now features a natural playground, community stage and mural. It also sits across from a community garden at 28th and Dumesnil streets.
“The idea of taking a vacant and abandoned lot and turning it into a cultural plaza for families is the true definition of Parkland Rising,” Former Metro Council Member Jessica Green said in a news release in September. “The Parkland Plaza is integral to the success and revitalization of this neighborhood that we all love.”
The project was expected to cost nearly $200,000. Louisville Metro Government contributed $44,000, while the rest of the funding came from various community groups.
Green, who represented District 1 which includes the Parkland neighborhood, said she and others have been working to restore Parkland to “its original glory.”
Parkland is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and was a thriving suburb for decades, according to the Parkland Plaza website.
In 1968, Parkland saw protests from Black residents in response to police brutality and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., causing many of the white residents to leave.
Now, like many Louisville West End neighborhoods, Parkland is a predominantly Black neighborhood. According to the 2015 American Communities Survey, 87% of current Parkland residents are Black.
Revitalization efforts have taken place over the past few decades but didn’t bring a public park to the area.
“We have some playground and some schools, obviously we have greenery around the neighborhood, but we don’t have a park,” District 4 Council Member Jecorey Arthur said. Arthur’s 1200 LLC is one of the Parkland Plaza’s financial sponsors.
“We don’t have any sort of public space where folks can gather that is green.”
Arthur grew up in the Parkland neighborhood and lived there for the majority of his life. He said often found himself having to leave his neighborhood to experience things like concerts and the health benefits associated with having access to parks.
Beyond the physical and mental health benefits, Arthur said the space will help with the social health of residents.
“You really don’t have a community without unity and you can’t have a community if you don’t have a space for people to come together,” Arthur said. “I don’t think that we are undeserving and unworthy of those benefits.”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Jessica Green is no longer on Louisville Metro Council.