First Glimpses of a City of Parks
A serene well-patterned naturally beautiful landscape interlacing an intricate network of similar structures arrested my sight on touching down on Louisville Sunday the 26th of June 2006. We drove past buildings all set in uniform symmetry with the well-terraced and tended gardens 안전공원 of the meadows as one should see in Eden.
The newest hall of residence in the University of Louisville, Kurtz Hall, which should be our new residence for six weeks,smelled fresh and fragrant. The surrounding well-tended gardens were constantly watered with the hedges and the carpet of greenery trimmed with quiet efficiency. The harmony with which nature intermingled with architecture all over the campus was impressive. The brown-brick-like box structures with terraced roofing patterns were all harmoniously blended with the green-carpeted parks surrounding each with adjoining tarred car parks with squirrels frolicking about in this nest of soothing beauty which were healing and diverting the mind.
Families of rare white squirrels frolick everywhere in the expanse of green space especially where one could find a huge variety of some of the biggest and oldest trees in Louisville as well as lush lawns. The compact Belknap Campus is itself a walker’s paradise with a cardio path around Cardinal Park, as well as huge, shaded sidewalks throughout the serene campus.
The University of Louisville has been struggling to develop and maintain an aesthetic atmosphere since the 1920s. In 2000, when Dr. James Ramsey became president of the University his wife, Jane, started working towards transforming the campus into a “more attractive, safe and community-oriented environment” for students to live and learn in.
New signages around, became part of the ongoing beautification to create a better student atmosphere as well as make the university more attractive. Ramsey and the Campus Beautification Committee have introduced water sprinkler systems, tree-lined streets, painted Cardinal medallions on street surfaces and painted overpasses. thus making it “a more exciting and prideful campus.” Stansbury Park on Third Street is to be returned back to its original 19th century design made by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park and most of Louisville’s parks and parkway system.
Olmsted’s concept of a park is contained in the following classic statement: . ‘My notion is that whatever grounds a great city may need for other public purposes, for parades, for athletic sports, for fireworks, for museums of art or science such as botanic gardens, it also needs a large ground scientifically and artistically prepared to provide such a poetic and tranquilizing influence on its people as comes through a pleased contemplation of natural scenery, especially sequestered and limitless natural scenery’
He was quite clear that while provision for sports for example was important, it should not take over sections of the park at the expense of the majority of park users, and should only be included where it could be accommodated within the park and not permanently take over sections of it.
“The redesign of Stansbury Park, along with plans for more bike pavilions by Cardinal Stadium, increased signage around the campus and downtown” and further involvements in development efforts in surrounding neighborhoods, according to Ramsey, “are all aimed at making this a more attractive and functional community.”
Ramsey, who grew up in the south end neighborhood of Louisville said “This effort is important to me. I have a love for this neighborhood and this university and I want to be engaged in making it a better place for future generations.”
Such pristine beauty is replicated in the whole city from downtown to the Churchill Downs area where every home is adorned by well tended gardens and lawns studded with flowers of varying alluring descriptions.
Louisville’s beauty is greatly enhanced by its extensive networks of parks and gardens with green carpets of grass decorating pathways, hedges, and roadsides. It is reputed to have the most beautiful parks in the U.S They were developed from 1891 when Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park as well as parks, parkways, college campuses and public facilities in many U.S. locations was contracted to design a system of public lands that would be free to all forever.
Olmsted created on all contours of the landscape
Shawnee Park, a plain of river bottomland featuring the concourses that afford extensive views and the expansive Great Lawn, Louisville’s spot for large formal gatherings, enclosed with border plantings and a tree-lined circular drive;
Cherokee Park one of the most visited parks in the U.S., featuring a 4.2 kilometre mixed-use loop and many well-known landscaping features, where Beargrass Creek wanders among woods and meadows;
Iroquois Park, a tall, rugged escarpment offering vantage views of the city;at the heart of which is a 10,000-year-old forest, blanketing the knob’s steep hillsides with a great variety of rare plants and animals and. a network of pedestrian paths, bridle trails, and circuit drives
and Tyler Park which is a jewel of solitude in the city bustle.
A scenic 7 mile River-Walk stretches from downtown’s 4th Street Wharf westward to Chickasaw park. Running parallel to the Ohio shore this path offers a variety of views, from the lakes and dam on the shipping channel to quiet, wooded portions where the occasional deer roams. East of River Walk, Linear Park has a playground with attractions for all.