by Ken Selvaggi, Leadership Louisville Class of 2013 —
Visionary leadership and philanthropy make Louisville a quality place; a place poised to grow when the recession fades, as the city invested while the economy slumped. Where else can you ride on the only steam driven vessel in the world (Belle of Louisville), a vessel that will celebrate 100 years of transport next year? Where else can you congregate on an 80 acre, $115 million Waterfront Park built 26 years ago and funded by $40 million in private donations? (Check out the best riverfront cities in the world featured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. right now: Shanghai, London, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Louisville!)
Louisville is downtown Kentucky. Consider these facts:
- Next month, 90% of the 167 new apartments behind the Island on Waterfront Park, with 140 boat slips nearby, will be occupied.
- Next year, Louisville will have two working distilleries (it may have five in three years) and host a one of a kind Riverboat Festival (Oct. 15-19).
- In two years, Louisville will boast the completed Parklands of Floyd Fork (near the Valhalla Golf Course), a project 10 years in the making and a showplace for outdoor enthusiasts. The Parklands are fully funded ($120 million) by private donations and already boast a playground considered one of the best in the city (visited by over 100,000 people last year). The Parklands will be home to 250,000 newly planted trees, hiking and biking trails, fishing, camping, fields for recreation and relaxing, and learning centers.
What will Louisville look like in 25 years, when supposedly 58% of us will be over 65? Will Louisville be hosting an Olympic trial? Will water taxis be the norm? Will UPS be the first hub for drone (pilot-less) cargo planes? Check out visionlouisville.com and offer your thoughts. Leadership Louisville’s Quality of Place class day reinforced what all the NFL coaches see when they visit each year for their annual convention: this is a very hospitable place that offers so much more than basketball and horses.