An empty space in the California neighborhood is now one step closer to becoming what its neighbors want it to be.
Back in August 2009, Louisville experienced historically heavy rainfall. Over a thousand homes in the West End were flooded, and the area of Maple Street between Dr. W.J. Hodge and 26th Streets was wiped out.
The Metropolitan Sewer District bought the damaged homes from residents at their pre-flood value.
The homes were torn down and the area became designated green space. Now, the Parks Alliance of Louisville aims to develop the space with the Maple Street Greenspace Project, and they’re gathering input from people who lived in the neighborhood.
“If you build what it is that neighbors want to see, then they are invested in it, they take care of it, it is more widely utilized, folks are happier,” said Brooke Pardue, president of the Parks Alliance of Louisville.
She called this community-focused approach “common sense.”
It’s a strategy they have used in other parks with success.
When building a new skate park in Irish Hill, for example, the Parks Alliance reached out to skaters to see what they needed. So while the skate park downtown was built for vert skating, the newer park focuses more on the needs of street skaters.
For the Maple Street Greenspace Project, a board of community representatives has been a large part of the process. Over the past few months, events have been held to gauge the wants and needs of the community.
One of those events was held on Saturday, with food and games to entice people to stop by.
The event happened at the actual space that will eventually be developed. Pardue said being in the space helps people visualize what they would want there.
At previous events, people wrote on cards what they wanted to see in the green space.
“The top things are play space for the children, walking paths and exercise stations,” Pardue said.
Other frequently-mentioned ideas include a space similar to Waterfront Park’s Great Lawn and an amphitheater for performances and outdoor learning.
At Saturday’s event, the project was narrowed down even further. It featured vision boards where people could place stickers on the ideas they really liked.
Pardue said the plan is to be able to break ground in the early months of 2022.