An experience that’s different for everyone.
We’re a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. We’re a natural haven for quiet reflection. We’re an ongoing festival of sounds and sights. We’re your favorite band blasting into the night sky.
And we’re right here, accessible to all.
Since the completion of the first portions of Waterfront Park in the mid 1990’s, the Waterfront Development Corporation’s role has evolved into a three-part mission: park planning and construction; park maintenance; and event production and coordination.
WDC oversees its mission from our funky little building on the wharf, which has its own interesting history. We also manage the Belle of Louisville on behalf of Louisville Metro, have Design Review Authority in the Waterfront District, and developed the master plan for Riverview Park in Southwest Jefferson County.
Park planning and construction shifted into high gear with the creation of the Louisville Waterfront Master Plan, which was approved in 1991, and continues today with design and construction of Phase IV of the park. An office staff of nine oversees planning, project oversight, Waterfront District design review, event production and coordination, fundraising, and other administrative functions.
Supplemental office staff include several 4-legged park greeters. Regulars include Lucy Grissom, Lily Karem, and Sylvie Lewis, supplemented by satellite workers Griff Walker (representing the feline branch), Bennie Lewis, and Bash Pepper. When you visit, you will be greeted by anywhere from one to four enthusiastic and wet noses. They will be happy to show you to the treat closet, in hopes of a reward.
Waterfront Park has its own maintenance crew, which is in the park 364 days per year to help ensure that a clean and well-functioning venue is ready to greet the public. Maintenance includes mowing, hedging, tree cutting, planting, aeration and a number of other landscaping tasks; care of park equipment, irrigation and electrical service; and keeping litter picked up. The Waterfront crew also repairs park furnishings (benches, trash cans), lighting, and playground equipment. Staff serve as park ambassadors, frequently answering questions and providing information to park visitors.
Finally, Waterfront Park hosts more than 120 events every year, everything from concerts, festivals and our own WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays concert series, to charity walks, volleyball tournaments, weddings, and corporate picnics. With the exception of Waterfront Wednesdays, WDC brokers park venue space to outside event producers. You’ll find organized events going on every weekend, February through the end of December, and a number of events all week long during the Summer.
Waterfront Design Review
When businesses in the Waterfront District decide to build new structures, renovate existing structures, change their signage or landscaping, or undertake any other exterior changes, those projects must gain approval through the Waterfront Review Overlay District (WRO) design review process. The WRO Guide outlines the Design Review process and includes a section on “Getting Your Project Approved.” Finally, a checklist is available here that shows the information that is needed to process an application for a WRO permit.
Waterfront Economic Impact
Check out our Economic Impact Report to see the effect of Waterfront Park on the Waterfront District and surrounding areas of downtown Louisville. Both an infographic version and a text version are available for download in pdf format (here is a link to download Adobe Reader, if needed).