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Trager Microforest making progress in downtown Louisville

Founder’s Square is about to be a lot more green.

An entryway leads to a microforest in a downtown area.

Trees for the Microforest will be planted this fall.

Photo courtesy the Louisville Downtown Partnership

Earlier this year, we reminded you about the Trager Microforest project, which will turn Founder’s Square — a pocket park between 5th Street and Armory Place along Muhammad Ali Boulevard — into a densely packed forest.

Earlier this month, Mayor Craig Greenberg and other local officials offered an update on how the project is growing along.

An artists rendering shows trees filling a microforest in a downtown space.

Officials hope the trees will combat extreme heat.

Photo courtesy the Louisville Downtown Partnership

Currently, the space is fenced off to allow workers to prepare. Over the next several weeks, they will install new walkways and an irrigation system. This fall, the real stars of the show — aka the trees that will make up the forest — will be planted.

The project comes from the The University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, which is leasing the space from the Metro Government for the next 30 years. It’s been in the works since 2022, when the Trager family donated $1 million to the cause.

“We want to reimagine our city center as a vibrant urban forest. The Trager MicroForest Project is not just about redesigning Founders Square, it is a catalyst and a living laboratory for pioneering green initiatives,” Patrick Piuma, director of the Envirome Institute’s Urban Design Studio, who is overseeing the project, said. “By integrating nature, we are learning how to tackle extreme weather and promote a healthier urban core. We’re not just planting trees; we are looking at a new vision of health that harnesses nature’s ability to rejuvenate our community.”