21st Century Parks
In May 2001, Bill Juckett, the highly respected Chairman of the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, asked community leaders this ambitious question: “Would you help us think of something that our generation can do that will have a 100-year impact on Louisville like the Olmsted Parks?” David Jones, founder of Humana, and his son Dan Jones, a park enthusiast, were convinced that Louisville could re-learn the Olmsted model to create a new and equally great 21st Century Park system.
Founded in 2005, 21st Century Parks is a Kentucky-based private, non-profit corporation, created to bring a fresh vision to the preservation and development of new public parklands. Our current project is The Parklands of Floyds Fork; planned for eastern and southern Louisville, it will be one of the largest new urban park systems in the nation.
Building on the visionary effort of former Lt. Governor Steve Henry and The Future Fund, Inc., and joining in partnership with Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Metro Parks, The Parklands encompasses nearly 4,000 acres of preserved lands in the last undeveloped corridor of our community.
Building on the Olmsted Legacy
Great parks are part of Louisville’s nature, due to the incomparable work of world- renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The year was 1891; Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Charles D. Jacob commissioned Olmsted to build a park system in his city. Olmsted envisioned three large signature parks — Iroquois, Shawnee and Cherokee — all connected by tree-lined boulevards. Louisville, along with only four other cities throughout the United States, was far-sighted enough to hire and follow through with Olmsted’s park system plan.
It is important to note that the trio of extraordinary parks Louisvillians now enjoy were suburban parks when they opened in the late 1800s. The parks became a magnet for new neighborhoods as families sought to escape the industrial congestion of downtown. Since that time, Louisville’s population has shifted further east and south of the traditional city limits.
The management of 21st Century Parks believes it is time to re-learn, re-think and build on the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted. With the creation of The Parklands, 21st Century Parks is determined to redefine the city’s suburban landscape and live up to its ultimate goal and motto, “Bringing nature into neighborhoods.”