Louisville non-profit is funded to transform a waterfront dump into botanical gardens

On January 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky, a nonprofit organization called Botanica, Inc. (previously reported on here in REVITALIZATION back in July of 2015) announced that they will receive a $390,000 partially-forgivable loan from the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program’s Cleaner Commonwealth Fund.

Botanica will use the funds to help transform a former city dump into a state-of-the-art botanical garden. This is the first loan made from the Cleaner Commonwealth Fund since it was established in 2013.

The former Ohio Street dump was a construction and demolition landfill that has been capped and vacant for many years. Because of its location, the site was considered ideal for Botanica to construct the Waterfront Botanical Gardens. The mission of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens is to develop experiences that promote appreciation and understanding of plants for a more harmonious and sustainable world. Our vision is to create a botanical garden and conservatory of extraordinary beauty that engages, enlightens, and inspires people about plants and nature.

The Cleaner Commonwealth Fund loan will assist with the managed reuse of the property. Botanica Inc. will use the money to manage potentially contaminated fill dirt on site and install clean fill/barriers, where needed, to protect those using the gardens from exposure to potential contamination.

When successfully completed, the program will forgive $90,000 of the $390,000 loan. The remainder, financed over a 15-year period, qualifies for 0 percent interest.

Waterfront Botanical Gardens will provide employment opportunities both during construction and after the opening of the facility, as well as serve as a local attraction that compliments Waterfront Park, Slugger Field and the future soccer complex.

As an added benefit, the gardens will provide more green space for children and adults. It will also promote healthy eating and living by providing an edibles garden for children to learn about the benefits of local produce.

The property was designated a brownfield and eligible for the program because of its contamination and the perceived complexity of working with the cap.

The Cleaner Commonwealth Fund, administered through the Division of Compliance Assistance, provides financial assistance for projects that clean up brownfield sites, including old factories, former gas stations and other properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to environmental contamination. It is a grant-and-loan fund established with an $850,000 EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grant.

All renderings © 2018 Waterfront Botanical Gardens.

See Botanica, Inc. website.

See Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program’s Cleaner Commonwealth Fund website.

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