Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leave It Better: Rolling on the River

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leave It Better: Rolling on the River

Article excerpt

A Kentucky community lays the cornerstone for long-term riverfront development.

Project:

Mitch McConnell Riverwalk and Plaza, Owensboro, Ky.

Problem:

Just a few years ago, the city of Owensboro was home to a stretch of properly along the Ohio River riverfront that was largely unused and not easily accessible from downtown. Although the space had community potential, an asphalt parking lot and a run-down wing of a hotel blocked pedestrian traffic from the river.

Partnerships and Solution:

Local hotel owners, members of the community, and city officials came together to form a riverfront redevelopment plan, which sought to make the Ohio River more than an afterthought for Owensboro residents. The access point to the 1.4-mile waterfront was integral for the plan to work. Upon removing the parking lot and hotel wing, a new multi-use plaza was built as a cultural hotspot and downtown entrance to the riverwalk. The plaza has a large gazebo suitable as an entertainment stage and plenty of seating integrated into the grassy landscape. Paul Kissinger, principal at EDSA, the architectural firm that planned the riverwalk and plaza, says that these elements were a catalyst to promote development along the Ohio. …

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