Cherokee Park’s teepee

We’re good listeners, and we hear you!

While some sound reasoning went into the plan to someday replace the well-known “teepee” structure in Cherokee Park, not everyone is convinced. One of the purposes of master planning is to attempt to reach consensus on the future needs for a park. Since there doesn’t appear to be consensus on this issue, our planning team will host an additional public meeting to discuss it before plans are finalized. Details coming soon.

Meanwhile, here’s some information about the planning effort and the teepee:

  • The recommendation to remove the teepee resulted from a master plan being developed by Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, through a public process. That plan is currently in “draft final” status after four public meetings.
  • The possibility of removing the structure was discussed in October 2009, in an article on the front page of the Courier-Journal’s Metro section. The planning effort was promoted via local media, Metro Council representatives, a listserv, the Metro Parks Web site and via Facebook.
  • There are no immediate plans to remove the teepee, nor is funding being sought for such an effort.
  • If funding is someday in place for this, approval to remove and replace the structure would trigger another public review and opportunity for public comment at that time.
  • No new parking is proposed at the current location of the teepee. In fact, there would be no net increase in parking space in this area of the park.
  • Master plan recommendations can evolve over time, based on changing community priorities, new information, cost limitations, etc. To that end, additional feedback is always welcome at and
  • The teepee structure is not in great shape. An estimate prepared by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy found that repairing the roof alone would cost at least $150,000 – about the cost of building a new shelter. Over the long-term, replacing the shelter would be more cost-effective.
  • The Olmsted Parks philosophy of “restore, enhance and preserve” has gradually implemented removal of elements that are inconsistent with the Olmsted design intent and replaced them with facilities and structures that are consistent with that design intent.


8 thoughts on “Cherokee Park’s teepee

  1. Trish March 1, 2010 / 6:06 pm

    keep the tee pee…pay the money to fix the roof!!

  2. Lark Phillips March 2, 2010 / 6:34 pm

    Your comments in this article are confusing and, I’m not trying to be incendiary, they reek of “doublespeak”. The Metro Parks website boasts a “NEW” final concept of this plan which states very clearly: “Plan Features: Remove existing Tee Pee shelter, provide new 25 person shelter near this location.”

    Yet you say here, “There are no immediate plans to remove the tee pee.” What exactly do you mean by “immediate”?

    You then go on to say that it would be cheaper to replace it than repair it.

    How long will it be before the date of the next public hearing is announced and how much advance warning will be given?

    • Jason Cissell March 2, 2010 / 8:57 pm

      Ms. Phillips — no doublespeak here! If you look at the top of the plan that you’ve referenced, you’ll see the words “draft final plan” (in large letters), as I noted in my post. The word draft means that it’s still subject to change.

      I expect we’ll announce the next meeting date next week, with the meeting taking place a few weeks after that. You’re following us on Facebook, so you won’t miss it!

      What I actually said was, “There are no immediate plans to remove the teepee, nor is funding being sought for such an effort.” That makes it a long-term plan — and a draft one, at that!

      In a Facebook post, you reference an inside source who tells you we’re trying to deceive you. Sounds like a conspiracy theory, or someone who is trying to convince you that they’re more “in the know” than they actually are. Tell your source to come talk to me — we’ll compare notes. 🙂

  3. Michelle Giralico March 3, 2010 / 12:06 am

    While I love the tee-pee and have come to view it as a landmark, I have to say that I think that funding would be better suited to improve facilities than spending a fortune restoring an existing structure. The Witch’s Hat as we like to call it will remain a fond memory for me, either way. That being said, my largest concern is that the main attraction to this site within the park is not being considered. It seems that the draft plans, correct me if I’m wrong, are looking towards a smaller structure, and downsizing the basketball court to one that is not suited for even a friendly game (unless we revert to H-O-R-S-E). My secondary concern is that the new plan will include inferior “improvements.” While some park facilities like the playground in Iroquois park have improved our city parks, there are others that have been “upgraded” to cheap and, frankly, dangerous equipment. I can’t wait for a public forum so we can hear all sides to the story.

  4. Ignatius J Riley March 5, 2010 / 10:01 pm

    A firm rule must be imposed upon our city before it destroys itself. The park needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss. Just look at the miscreants who loiter about in that abysmal structure. Witches Hat indeed!

  5. Alan Canon March 8, 2010 / 12:05 am

    The above article states, in part:

    “The teepee structure is not in great shape. An estimate prepared by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy found that repairing the roof alone would cost at least $150,000 – about the cost of building a new shelter. Over the long-term, replacing the shelter would be more cost-effective.”

    As I recall, the boat that became the Belle of Louisville, now a National Historic Landmark, was purchased for $34,000 in 1962 under the county/city government of Marlow Cook and Bill Cowger. The boat required extensive renovation (the U. S. Coast Guard had condemned her hull) but time and materials donated by Louisville’s citizenry reduced the renovation cost considerably (Adjusted for inflation, $34K in 1962 would be around $238K today.)

    Would it not be possible for a grass roots effort to save the Hogan’s Fountain picnic shelter to raise enough money for a new roof? We’d need to strip off the old roof, have it hauled away, obtain new wood and nails, and re-roof it. I can’t believe that our city, packed with talented engineers and tradespersons as it is, couldn’t accomplish the needed repairs safely and economically.

    I hate heights, but I’d sign a personal injury waiver and climb a ladder to help repair that structure in a heartbeat.

  6. melissa j "misty" lee April 2, 2010 / 7:09 pm

    why not utilize the same idea being incorporated into the repair of the band shelter at iroquois park? years ago, i suggested to the metro council that high school shop students make the repair and rehab of louisville gardens a school project, giving them experience of repair and rehab on a very real and important structure. union/metro carpenters, plumbers, electricians, et al, would oversee the work being done at low cost, and allow the students to earn credits toward their chosen trade careers. can’t grants be obtained to finace these type projects? save this structure – it is part of our history!

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