One Park project planned for Cherokee Triangle is the right development at the right placeSeptember 25, 2019
A new rendering of the One Park project across from Cherokee Park. (Photo: Bill Bardenwerper)
This article originally appeared in the Courier Journal on September 25, 2019. It was written by
Louisville is a city of great neighborhoods. Strident effort is needed to preserve historical streetscapes in some areas, but this doesn’t apply to the hit-and-miss construction that occupies the triangular site at Grinstead Drive and Lexington Road. The mobile home park that occupied a large chunk of the site was cleared some decades ago, the iconic Old Kentucky Tavern went a little later, and the surviving service stations and other buildings are mostly in decline.
As an archivist, local historian and longtime former councilman for that area, I have argued for decades that the One Park site is one of the best places in Louisville for reimagining, leaning toward mixed-use and significant density. That large standalone tract, which abuts two major roads, Cave Hill Cemetery, Cherokee golf course and a broad creek valley, sits less than a football field away from a heavily trafficked interstate highway, making it ripe for urban infill. I believe the recently proposed One Park project is the right development at the right place.
I first became an elected city official representing the Highlands in 1990, and over the 27 years until my retirement, developer Kevin Cogan rescued several Bardstown Road commercial properties for dramatic reuse and undertook quality rehab and new construction projects in our Highlands neighborhoods.
I am sure One Park will add to our city’s quality of life. Kevin and his team held 12 public meetings to solicit input from area residents. While some will never be satisfied, the design team took many suggestions to heart, most notably by reducing the height of the project as well as making concessions on density. Thanks to the continued dialogue, the new mid-rise design includes setbacks above the sixth-floor level to diminish its street presence.
Additionally, the building design and materials of those lower levels on the Grinstead side now show a more traditional look. All parking is concealed, meaning the entire structure, except points of access, are surrounded by residential and commercial uses.
I have always advocated for environmentalism and conservation. I believe that One Park promotes both. We can either grow up or grow out. We can place density near major transportation nodes including alternative forms, or we can add longer and longer commutes by pushing development to the outer reaches of our metro area.
Urban infill is a tremendous strategy to fight climate change because living closer to jobs, schools and increased transit options helps to decrease carbon footprints. Not only this, but One Park adds green space in a spot where acres and acres of pavement and significant stormwater runoff have ruled the roost for years.
The seventh-floor terrace alone will add 1.53 acres of open space. Other floors will include rooftop gardens. The design wisely incorporates porous pavers to mitigate runoff, includes solar technology and prioritizes recycled and recyclable building materials.
As an avid cyclist, I sincerely appreciate the effort made to create a better environment at a chaotic intersection. This development is designed with cyclists and pedestrians in mind. That means full accessibility. One Park works with the city’s plan to add bike lanes on Lexington Road. Bike storage, covered bike parking and fix-it stations are built into the streetscape, while leaving plenty of room for sidewalks.
One Park adds a considerable number of trees which provide shade for all. Perhaps most importantly, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers will all benefit from new planning that reduces the number of entrances and exits to the site to four, where there are now nearly 20. This should help improve safety and aid in traffic flow.
That self-contained site at Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive has been crying out for a real plan, and now there is a good one in One Park.
Tom Owen, an archivist\local historian, served on the Louisville Board of Aldermen and Metro Council representing the Highlands for 23 of 27 years, frequently serving on the Public Works, Bridges and Transportation; Solid Waste and Recycling; and Planning, Zoning, Land Design and Development committees. He has been a Tyler Park resident since 1978.