Olmsted Parks Conservancy picks design group for the Beargrass Preserve Master Plan

The 25-acre expansion at Cherokee Park is the first in over 130 years.

Outdoor image with a cloudy sky and semi-bare trees with slopping green hills

There are voluntary restrictions on the Beargrass Preserve land to ensure it will be a public park forever.

Photo provided by Olmsted Parks Conservancy

In December of 2021, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy received its largest financial gift in history to the sum of $8 million from Louisvillians Norman and Belita Noltemeyer — who have lived in the Cherokee Gardens neighborhood for 20+ years.

The nonprofit parks organization, working to revitalize Louisville’s seventeen Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and six parkways, used the money to buy ~25 acres of land from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary — that’s about the size of six Walmart Supercenters.

Olmsted Parks dubbed the newly acquired land and expansion project the Beargrass Preserve at Cherokee Park. And after a little over a year of searching for a design group to take on the project, which is the first of its kind in over 130 years, it has selected Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group for the job.

Large rock faces jet out over a hill with green trees surrounding them.

Olmsted Parks Conservancy will also demolish the outdated buildings on the site and collect public input for how the forthcoming park plan can serve the community.

Image provided by Olmsted Parks Conservancy

In addition to working with the parks system to keep the master plan community-informed (an Olmsted Parks policy), Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group will also collaborate with several other firms to help integrate history, culture, and ecological processes that protect and restore the biodiversity of the area into the design.

Here’s who else is on the planning team:

So what happens next? Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group will get their ducks in row by surveying the existing conditions of the land to determine what is possible and what might be a setback. Then, they will work to create layouts for public and stakeholder meetings, as well as gather feedback for a preferred alternative design.

If you want a glimpse into what the Beargrass Preserve might look like, here are a few other Taylor Siefker Williams’ designs:

Get in on the action by donating to the historic expansion.