Our parks and our Open Spaces are both major contributors to the quality of life in Louisville. I am proud to be able to report that we have added to both the parks system and the Open Space system since I was elected. As a community we now own more property in Cottonwood Park and we own the majority of the Mayhoffer Farm off of highway 42 and Pine Street. As Mayor I will continue to represent the community and acquire key properties that the citizens have identified as critical for completing our parks and Open Space system.
Maintaining our parks and Open Spaces is also a key responsibility of the City. I have supported our playground replacement program to keep our neighborhood parks in good shape for the families that use them. Last year we replaced Heritage Park’s playground and this year we are working on the structure at Elephant Park. It is important to keep the structures safe and relevant so that our kids have fun places to play and grow.
Herbicide overuse in the city (and around the world) is a problem many residents are very concerned about. The citizens asked that we stop spraying the areas around the playgrounds, and so City Council responded by accepting that suggestion and we stopped spraying those areas. We need volunteer help to pull weeds in those play areas to ensure that the program remains viable. For example, goat’s head is a weed that can cause bike tires to pop or pain to a foot if it is stepped on. By volunteers pulling them before they seed we can keep them out of the sandboxes and the other areas the children play. We also need to expand our volunteer programs in general to ensure the quality and maintenance of our open space lands.
We are testing an expansion of the areas that we stop using herbicide to two other entire parks as well (Memory Square and Elephant Park). Some people who oppose the program to stop using herbicide have raised concerns that the turf will degrade (by filling with weeds like goat’s heads, dandelions, bindweed and others) and be very costly to replace (we have turf for things like children’s soccer, and picnics and so on). You can help make the pilot project for no herbicide successful by pitching in and helping us weed the turf in those two parks. Additionally, we have volunteers that help pitch in to pull noxious weeds in open space; by pulling these invasive weeds that crowd out native plants, we can reduce the amount of herbicide the City applies to our Open Spaces.
Like our recreation center, parks, trails and open space; our golf course is a major city asset and recreational opportunity. With the flood of 2013 we had the opportunity to redesign and rebuild our course, so now it offers more levels of play. From a management and accountability perspective, we have an obligation as a city to ensure that the course is operating in a way that the revenues from golfing are adequate to cover the maintenance and operation of the course.