Supporting community projects

The Louisville Water Foundation awarded grants last year that are now funding the development of several important projects for our community.

Waterfront Botanical Gardens

After it broke ground in 2017, the Waterfront Botanical Gardens (WBG) began converting a 23-acre landfill into Louisville’s only botanical garden. The foundation awarded $25,000 in 2018 to support construction of water features as well as the purchase and installation of bottle-fill stations and water fountains.

WBG will include a concrete reflecting pool with stone walls and an elevated stainless-steel trough in the middle that discharges water back into the pool.

In addition, WBG, which is scheduled to open in October 2019, is planning a water wall that will be part of their Edible Garden. This feature will “intrigue visitors and frame outdoor events,” according to WBG, which also will partner with Louisville Water and Louisville MSD for joint educational programs and tours for students and visitors.

St. Stephen Family Life Center

Working to transform one of Louisville’s most distressed neighborhoods, the St. Stephen Family Life Center offers a range of education, economic development, and fitness programs. The Center asked the Foundation for financial support to install water infrastructure for the football field used by their youth football and cheer programs.

The Center also requested funds for two water fountains and bottle-fill stations that will provide basic hydration for players and fans. The foundation donated a little more than $23,000 for these projects in 2018.

Fern Creek High School

Students from Fern Creek High School planted a rain and butterfly garden at their school in April. The project, a result of a $2,000 grant from the foundation, has been a year in the making and started with students in Lauren Niemann’s classes planning and designing the garden.

“We all had different ideas, and Ms. Niemann helped us mold them into a master plan,” said one eleventh-grade student.

The plan includes lots of red-twig dogwoods, perennials, and grasses.  In addition, the garden will be the site of a wheelchair-accessible outdoor classroom. The garden is situated near a storm drain and parking area, allowing for some beauty and function in an otherwise unusable space.

The students have also spent the year researching the impact of urban runoff and learning the roles Louisville Water and Louisville MSD play in improving water quality. Niemann’s goal is for the garden to serve as a model for green infrastructure improvements for Jefferson County Public Schools.

For more information on the Louisville Water Foundation and its ongoing projects (such as the Customer Assistance Program and the Lead Service Line Replacement program), see the organization’s annual report.