Local News

Waterfront Park Ice Rink on Hold for Another Year

Plans for an ice skating rink in Louisville’s Waterfront Park have been scrapped for another year.

In February, the Waterfront Development Corporation announced plans for the rink, which was slated to open this winter. The $75,000 needed to finance the project was to come from an outside sponsorship, but the deal fell through.

“They chose to not participate this year because it was kind of a last-minute deal. But they’ve shown strong interest in it next year. We had to pass on it because we did not have it in our budget,” says WDC Director of Facilities Gary Pepper, who adds that the rink could be built next year.

“You know I pushed for it for three years and every time I push, I get a little bit closer. There’s a lot of interest in it,” he says. “Everybody thinks it’s a great idea. We’ve got a killer location for it. But with the economy the way it is, we’re working on a tight margin, a tight budget right now. We just don’t have the money.”

A new outdoor ice skating rink will open later this month in Lexington.

Local News

Louisville Honors the 10th Anniversary of September 11

There will be several events around Louisville on Sunday for the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

The city’s “American Freedom” event is at 2:00 at the Great Lawn in Waterfront Park. Gov. Steve Beshear, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Congressman John Yarmuth and Mayor Greg Fischer are expected to be in attendance.

A steel beam from the World Trade Center will be dedicated to the city. It will be escorted by bagpipers and Louisville police officers and firefighters. The event will also feature a 21-gun salute and a flyover from the Kentucky Air National Guard. Citizens can participate in the “Freedom Walk” and are invited to help carry the 60-foot American flag displayed at Thunder Over Louisville.

The city will also participate in the national Moment of Remembrance at 1:00. Officials say people are free to express themselves however they wish for the one minute, though a moment of silence is traditional in remembering and honoring those who lost their lives in the attacks.

All TARC vehicles will also honor this event by pulling over at 1:00, then resuming the regular schedule at 1:01.

Local News

Louisville Prepares for 10th Anniversary of September 11

This Sunday will be the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Flight 93.

Louisville is one of ten U.S. cities receiving a piece of the World Trade Center for permanent display. The beam is expected to be dedicated on Sunday’s Waterfront Park event at 2 pm.

In preparation, Fred Moore is calling for volunteers to help contribute to the September 11th honorary dedication. Moore is the director of the National Flags for Veterans’ Graves program, which is non-profit organization that asks volunteers to help honor veterans who have sacrificed their lives for the country. For the last five years. flags have been placed near veterans’ graves across the U.S, said Moore.

“Louisville has become a very patriotic city. And every single time for five years we have had all of the volunteers we’ve needed to perform our tasks and do the job the way we thought it ought to be done,” he said.

Last year flags were placed on the graves of veterans in 28 states, he said. This Sunday, volunteers will help create a large visual display downtown.

“We’ve asked for several hundred volunteers to come down to the great lawn at the waterfront to help us spell out USA with 25,000 great flags,” said Moore.

Louisville’s main branch library has also opened an exhibit displaying photographs taken from people in New York City on September 11. The exhibit will be on display until the end of the month.

Local News

Ironman Competition To Force Road Closures

More than two-thousand athletes will participate in the 2011 Ford Ironman competition Sunday in the Louisville area.

The endurance competition includes a 2.4 mile Ohio River swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run.

The courses include Louisville’s Waterfront Park and Oldham and Henry counties.

The competition and related events will force some road closures. A list is here.

Local News

Construction Begins on Big Four Bridge Re-decking

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on the Big Four Bridge today.  Construction will now begin on re-decking the old railroad bridge across the Ohio River.

Congressman John Yarmuth congratulated Governor Beshear, Louisville Mayor Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan for their teamwork on getting the project started.

“This will be something that will bring us closer together, will stimulate economic activity on both sides of the river and will mean so much to our citizens just  in terms of the quality of life.”

Governor Beshear also made a commitment on making this the first step in a larger endeavor.

“I want to stand here and assure you right now, not only are we going to finishe the big four bridge project, we are going to build the Ohio River Bridges and finish that project.”

When the work is completed, the Big Four Bridge will be the longest pedestrian bridge over water in the United States.   Officials say it will eliminate the need for a pedestrian walkway on a new downtown bridge over the Ohio River and reduce costs for that project. You can read about the Big Four financing plan here.

Governor Beshear and Mayor Fischer later appeared at the Old Fort Nelson building at 8th and Main streets to announce the creation of a Michter’s Whiskey distillery.

Local News Politics

Ackerson Hopes To Keep Waterfront Park Lawn Free For Thunder Visitors

A Louisville Metro Councilman is hoping to keep all of Waterfront Park free and open for this year’s Thunder Over Louisville.

Derby Festival officials changed the seating rules this year to charge visitors to sit in one portion of the park. About ten percent of the Great Lawn will be fenced off for this year’s fireworks show. Visitors will need a Pegasus Pin to enter the area.

Festival president Mike Berry told a Metro Council committee Tuesday the change will stop early visitors from staking large claims in the lawn and blocking others from getting the best views. The sales of the pins will offset the cost of guarding the area.

“This was not just those of us who are behind the scenes in Thunder. I think the public was realizing as well that there were challenges when it comes to this area and the civility,” he said. “Safety and security is always the most important part of our events.”

Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson says it’s unfair to charge people to visit the park, and he told Berry he wants to find a way around the fee.

“For the $20,000 cost I hope to talk to my colleagues to see if we might be able to off-set that to where you all might consider still fencing off the area if that’s the security concern but at the same time still making it free to those in this area that otherwise would like to go but maybe discouraged by that additional family charge,” he said.

The money would likely come out of the council members’ discretionary funds.

Pegasus Pins cost $4 in advance and $5 at the gate.

Arts and Humanities Local News

My Morning Jacket Announces It Will Play with Louisville Youth Orchestra

The Louisville-based band My Morning Jacket announced today it will perform at the new KFC Yum! Center this fall. My Morning Jacket will perform at the new arena Oct. 29 with the Louisville Youth Orchestra, with some of the proceeds going to the organization.

The band made the announcement at ear X-tacy along with leaders from the youth orchestra.

Lead singer Jim James says that the band is dedicated to spotlighting local businesses and the arts.

“We want to remind everybody in Louisville that there are great outlets for youth to discover music and discover art,” James says. “Unfortunately, in our society, the arts have continually been cut back and shortchanged, so we want to let everybody know that there are great programs out here for kids to get involved in music and art.”

Leaders from the Louisville Youth Orchestra say that the group will get one dollar from every ticket purchased , which could double funding for its scholarship program.

Melody Welsh-Buchholz is the Louisville Youth Orchestra’s executive director.

“This will allow up to 50 new members who otherwise would not be able to participate with us because of economic circumstances to be a part of this organization,” she says. “And that is a really, really big deal for us.”

The usual annual budget for the scholarship fund is $15,000.

In 2008, My Morning Jacket held a concert at Waterfront Park with the Louisville Leopard Percussionists in a performance that benefited the Center for Women and Families.

The concert is being presented by WFPL’s sister station, WFPK.

Wax Fang will open for My Morning Jacket. Tickets go on sale Saturday, August 14.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Forecastle Festival at Waterfront Park Set to Be Largest; Features Site-Specific Art

Today kicks off the ninth annual Forecastle Festival — and it’s growing. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Organizers of this year’s three-day festival say they expect 30,000 attendees in addition to about 1200 musicians, artists, environmentalists and sponsors. This makes it the largest so far. Headliners include Devo, The Flaming Lips, Widespread Panic and Spoon.

The festival focuses on music, art and activism. And this year the event is also debuting at at a new site — 75 acres of Waterfront Park.

Getting it here was a big goal for founder JK McKnight.

“Waterfront Park’s just an amazing, beautiful piece of real estate down here,” McKnight says. “And it’s really a privilege that we have that here in Louisville. To me it’s the perfect place to set roots finally and grow this thing in the next couple years.”

Another festival milestone is the large-scale, site-specific art it’s featuring, says Mike Ratterman, who has organized artists’ participation in the festival since its inception.

“As the crowd grew, the art really had to grow as well in the nature that the work presents to people — as far what people expect to see at a  festival of this nature and how they interact with the work,” Ratterman says, “so to move to larger installation pieces that have a more environmental theme just seemed a whole lot more appropriate. ”

Three regional artists have created site-specific work that is scattered throughout the 75-acres that make up the festival grounds. One is sculptor Joyce Ogden, whose multiple towers reference rainfall in Kentucky.

Ogden says she loves the idea of incorporating large-scale art into the festival.

“I like the idea of art being integrated into our culture and what we do,” she says, “and I think it’s an interesting kind of union.”

Artists Leticia Bajuyo and Todd Smith also have created work for this year’s festival. (To read more about the artists showing work in the festival click here.) Festival partner Nederlander Entertainment contributed $12,000 for the art projects. The festival also has an audio tour of the artwork (1-888-244-4186).

Last year, Outside Magazine selected it one of its “Top 15 Outdoor Summer Festivals.”

PHOTOS: Work by Leticia Bajuyo (top); work by Joyce Ogden (middle); Joyce Ogden setting up her site-specific work.

Local News

Waterfront Event To Raise Funds For Women's Groups

By Andy Freudenburg

More than a dozen Louisville area non-profits will come together Saturday to raise money and awareness for various women’s causes.

The effort is known collectively as Champions 4 Her. Treva Brockman is the organization’s spokesperson.

“Women and families in this community based on statistics are pretty low and obesity and financial health, so the mission of all of these groups is to support the women in the community, because when women do better families do better, families do better business is better,” says spokesperson Treva Brockman.

Participating groups include Women 4 Women, Women for Habit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, and others. Saturday’s events include a festival at Waterfront Park and a 5K walk and run.

Louisville Public Media is the radio partner for the event.

Local News

Braille Sign Added to Waterfront Park

by Stephanie Crosby

A new Braille sign was unveiled at Waterfront Park this afternoon. The sign is near the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.

Mayor Jerry Abramson says the park is growing in popularity, and thought needs to be put into how it can be enhanced for everyone.

“When you look at about a million-and-a-half people coming to the waterfront every year, you begin to realize how important this area is to ensure that it is available to be enjoyed by as many people as we possibly can,” says Abramson.

Another Braille sign will be placed soon near the “Flock of Finns” at the corner of Witherspoon and River Road. Both of the signs have indicators underfoot that allow the visually impaired to ‘feel’ that something of interest is nearby.

Abramson says if successful, similar signs could be used throughout the community.