Proposed Park Project Aims to Boost Quality of Place

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(rendering courtesy of River Heritage Conservancy) (rendering courtesy of River Heritage Conservancy)

The executive director of Jeffersonville-based River Heritage Conservancy Inc. says a massive park along the Ohio River will be the result of a large collaboration. The nonprofit park conservancy has unveiled the agencies involved in the community partnership that will develop the 600-acre park and landscape plan. Scott Martin says the goal is to fill the gap left by a lack of a park system without the constraints of jurisdictional boundaries.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Martin talked about the important role a park system plays in the quality of life of a community.

"The lesson is that great cities have great parks," said Martin. "It goes all the way back to New York City. What makes Manhattan such a dynamic place for business today is that Central Park makes it a livable place. We even see it on a broader scale where communities like a Seattle or a Portland or a Denver, they're growing. They're economically exciting places to be now because it's a place you want to live first and then you figure out how you're going to make your living."

Martin says one of the main advantages of the southern Indiana region is that you can't relocate the Ohio River. He says using the natural resources in a way to drive a lifestyle adds to the region's economic strength and resiliency, and also makes the region authentic.

The agencies involved in the development of the proposed park include:

  • Town of Clarksville
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Ohio River Greenway Commission
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources – State Parks
  • Jeffersonville/Clarksville Flood Control District
  • Indiana Department of Environmental Management
  • Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department
  • Indiana Brownfields Program

"Underneath every great park is really a partnership," said Martin. "Particularly these days, no one can go it alone. We can all build mediocre parks for ourselves, but when you're doing really the city-shaping type of park work, you've got to have everyone at the table. So we're really thrilled to see all of the agencies show what I consider some bold, entrepreneurial thinking to get maybe outside of our comfort zones and work collaboratively across the landscape."

The conservancy says the partners are contributing time, expertise and effort into the planning process. In January, the conservancy announced it had chosen Philadelphia-based landscape design firm OLIN to lead the design process, which will be supported locally by Bravura Architects in Louisville.

The planning team for the park has been investigating and analyzing the project area since January. The conservancy says the design team will interpret and lay out desired programming and longer-term goals for the park, then the partners will begin developing design concepts. Martin says they're on track to roll out a park plan in October for the public to view and provide feedback.

You can learn more about the project by clicking here.

Martin talked about the important role a park system plays in the quality of life of a community.
Martin says the project had to be a collaborative effort.
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