New Mountain Biking Trails at Iroquois Park?

Metro Parks staff met with several members of KyMBA on Decemeber 5th to discuss the possibility of adding mountain bike trails to Iroquois Park.  Director, Mike Heitz followed up with the group with a letter explaining why an extensive trail system at Iroquois Park would not be addressed at this time.

The main issues involved include:

•    PUBLIC REVIEW. Any substantial change in uses, such as adding mountain bikes to the existing trails should go through a public planning and review process that includes all user groups including hikers, equestrians, golfers, disc golfers, and general public who use the park but are not part of an organized group.

•    SAFETY would need to be addressed – site distances, grades, compatibility of different user groups on those trails.

•    SUSTAINABILITY OF THE TRAILS – both horses and bikes are hard on trails. Parts of the existing bridle path did undergo a big “hardening” as part of the Olmsted Plan implementation in the early 2000s, but mountain bikers want hills not flat land so it is highly unlikely they would stay on the lower, more sustainably designed trail.  Soil at Iroquois Park is primarily considered loess. This type of soil has a very small particle size and is susceptible to erosion by water and wind which is only compounded by the steepness of the terrain. Currently, the Olmsted Master Plan calls for hiking-only trails on the hillsides.

As stated before, these reasons alone do not remove the opportunity from Iroquois, but simply requires time to develop in the best manner possible for the health of the park.  In the meantime, this proposal will be “shelved” in order for us to focus on another area of the park that has garnered overwhelming support from the community: the Northern Overlook.  Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy are committed to the improvement to this area of Iroquois Park and have made it the number one capital request in the upcoming budget. If funding is approved, a site design would be necessary before improvements can be made. This will certainly impact any trail system located on or around the hillside. Therefore, we believe that once the planning and design has been completed for the Northern Overlook we can move forward on other amenities.

Metro Parks very much supports the idea of mountain bike trail expansion in the community and, at our meeting with KyMBA, we also discussed the exciting potential of the Moreman Hill area at Jefferson Memorial Forest as a possible location for building a world-class trail system. KyMBA representatives, as well as national consultants whom they brought in to attend the meeting, share Parks enthusiasm for such a project at the Forest, and Parks staff have been investigating sources of funding that could matched with KyMBA resources to bring this idea to fruition.

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Iroquois Park Vandalism FAQs

Iroquois_restroomThanks to our awesome Facebook fans, our post regarding the criminal acts at Iroquois Park has gotten a lot of attention and has been featured on the local news stations (WDRB, WLKY, WAVE and WHAS).  Hopefully this attention will help lead to the identification of the person/people who committed this careless crime.   This story has generated a lot of questions and concerns by citizens and we are going to try and answer some of those here.

$10,000 for a toilet and water fountain?! That seems kind of high…

The $10,000 was the initial estimate for the repair, materials and labor (breakdown of costs below). The largest portion of the cost, about $7500, is the estimated purchase price of the water fountain.  It may seem surprising that a water fountain can cost so much, but because Iroquois is an Olmsted Park, the park fixtures installed are required to meet a level of design standards set by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and this type of fountain may carry a slightly higher price than styles found in other parks. In addition, Metro Parks is a public agency, therefore it must stay in compliance with several ordinances regarding the contracting of labor, purchasing materials as well as those materials used must meet specific standards and be purchased from approved vendors.

Cost estimates:

Toilet replacement:

$200 (without install). At this time it doesn’t appear that the plumbing in the restroom will need repairs, just the fixture replacement. We won’t know for sure until we remove and replace the fixture and see if there was any damage to pipes within the wall.

Graffiti abatement for the restroom and playground:

Approximately $300 for paint and painting supplies for the restroom. Labor estimate – 4 employees * 16 hours * $13.00/hr = $832.00.

Water fountain purchase and installation:

(Handicap accessible and frost proof):  Between $7500.00 and $8000.00

The necessary plumbing repairs for the drinking fountain should be included in the cost for purchase and installation above unless there are more problems below grade we won’t be able to see until we remove the concrete and inspect the valve.

Concrete removal and replacement:  

Unknown at this time, but Parks expects this to be covered in the water fountain installation above.

Repair the cut shade structure at the playground:

Approximately $700.00

 

Total Estimate = $9,232

 

Why doesn’t Metro Parks install security cameras?

An exterior surveillance camera system is expensive and has limitations.  However,  Metro Parks is in discussion with LMPD to  add a camera at certain locations.

 

Has Metro Parks considered using Stainless Steel toilets in the restrooms?

Stainless steel toilets cost about $700-$800 each. A ceramic toilet is around $150. Our maintenance manager has found it to be more cost effective to simply replace 4-5 ceramic toilets for the cost of one stainless. Unfortunately, even a stainless toilet would need replacing when a 250 pound fountain is thrown on top of it.

 

What can I do to help?

We are encouraging the entire community to be our eyes and ears in all the parks.  Contacting LMPD anytime suspicious behavior is seen or vandals are caught in the act is the best way to combat vandalism.

Iroquois Amphitheater Manager touts upcoming season

By MIKE SLATON
Iroquois Amphitheater Manager
Contact Mike

We are all really excited about the upcoming season out here at the Iroquois Amphitheater! When I took over as the manager in October, I set a goal of bringing back live theater and delivering a variety of high-quality, low cost events that included concerts, theater, movies and festivals. After a really outstanding year in 2010, we’ll be building on our success in 2011, and I think from here on, each year will be better than the last!

First off, the concert front. The Louisville Youth Orchestra returns on May 1 for their annual performance. In addition, we’ve been lucky to work once more with one of Louisville’s best promoters, Production Simple. These are the folks that brought in The Black Keys and Corey Smith last summer. They’re lining up a series of shows for 2011 that kicks off April 26 with The Decemberists and will just get better from there. After that, we’ve got Bright Eyes on June 7 and Umphrey’s McGee on June 24. There’s a few more shows that we aren’t ready to announce yet, and by the time the season ends, I think the Iroquois Amphitheater will be firmly established as one of the coolest stops on the outdoor circuit.

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Metro Parks Lifeguards – Our Unsung Heroes

An unsung hero keeps watch over a Metro Parks outdoor pool.

By KEITH SMITH
Recreation Supervisor
E-mail Keith

What is an unsung hero? It is a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; it is a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged.

Louisville Metro Parks runs four outdoor and one indoor, year round, swimming pool. Each summer for 9 to 10 weeks, the lifeguards at these pools see 60,000 to 70,000 patrons. The  average age of a lifeguard is between 16 and 18.  Whenever a lifeguard gets into the chair, he or she has a great responsibility to ensure the safety of each person in that pool. Over the last five years, we’ve seen over 300,000 patrons at Louisville Metro Parks pools.   In those five years, we’ve had only one near drowning.  

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Join Us To Open the Nature Explore Classroom at JMF!

By CHRISTA WEIDNER
Jefferson Memorial Forest Naturalist
E-mail Christa

We are very excited to finally open the Nature Explore Classroom!  This is an area where children, ages 3-5 years old, can play, be creative, imagine, discover, explore…the possibilities are endless. 

Little ones can climb on tree stumps, build with tree “cookies,”  hide in the Sassafras Tree House, create with seeds, leaves, rocks and other natural materials and listen to a story under the trees.  With the help of volunteers and staff, we created an area where kids and their families can play outdoors and reconnect to nature.  Please join us for the grand opening on April 2.

On that day, the center will be open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Please call 502/368-5404 for more information.

Andrew Brooks

By ANDREW BROOKS
Volunteer Coordinator
E-mail Andrew

It was late December 2009, and the days were counting down at Metro Parks as my tenure as an AmeriCorps volunteer and Community Relations assistant were coming to an end. Fast-forward the clock about a year later, and I got the call I was waiting for. I was back on the team! This time however, I would be taking the reigns as a full-time employee as the new volunteer coordinator.

I have a lot of to be thankful for in being back at Metro Parks, and there is no other place on the planet I would rather be than here! I credit the staff in the community relations department and guidance from Mike Slaton, our former Volunteer Coordinator, on giving me the responsibilities and vision when I was an AmeriCorps member to do task that help me with my job today.

Through my work as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Metro Parks, I was able to see how much of an impact our volunteers have on our wonderful park system. I was really moved by the generosity of others and gained a sense of pride for my community that I had never felt before.

In conclusion, I am very excited about the Metro Parks volunteer program and the direction we are taking it. This team has given me the vision to make our volunteer program a role model for other programs throughout the nation. I am excited to be back helping our volunteer programs and making a lasting and meaningful impact on Metro Louisville. I look forward to working with diverse groups of volunteers and community leaders on keeping our parks and community centers looking spectacular. Thanks for all your support Louisville, and please feel free to contact me anytime if you would like to volunteer with Metro Parks.

* Have an idea for a group project for your organization, business or church? Contact Andrew at 502/456-3256.

I Salute Metro Parks’ for Citizen Engagement – that’s What Works!

 By WALTER MUNDAY
Outreach and Volunteer Manager
E-mail Walter

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in a community planning meeting for a brand new park and modifications to an existing park in southeastern Jefferson County.  The process provided citizens an opportunity for input into the future of these parks located in/around their neighborhoods.  As a new staff member of Metro Parks, I applaud efforts made by my colleagues in the planning division.  Not for the countless hours spent at public meetings on three separate occasions, or for the door-to-door flyer distribution, but for the mere fact that they transposed input shared from the two previous meetings into the development template for these two parks.  And for that, I salute them!      

Okay, I work for parks.  What undisclosed reason(s) prompted me to write this?  Well… following the meeting, one citizen approached me on their way out with the question, “Why are you having these meetings?  You don’t have the money right now to build anything… why get the residents all worked up for nothing.”

Metro Parks informs and engages the public about proposed planning projects, like the Jan. 24 meeting regarding Charlie Vettiner Park.

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