The new Sheppard Square is an exciting mixed-income development that is expected to revitalize the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, KY. Located at the northwest edge of the development area, the 400 Finzer site has the potential to become a new “front yard” for this community.
Through this design exploration, the current paved parking lot that sits on this site is re-imagined as a centerpiece open space that helps bridge the divide between Broadway and the residential portions of Smoketown. This site is also the former home of the Hillerich and Bradsby Company, manufacturer of the world-renowned Louisville Slugger, and has a rich history as being central to the neighborhood’s development.
Access to greens and open space is integral to a healthy and vibrant community. Small neighborhood parks create opportunities for social gatherings, personal and group recreation, and exercise. They are catalysts to creating strong communities, and therefore become geographical and metaphorical centers for such. These spaces also benefit the environment, as they may provide areas with strong tree canopy, pervious surfaces, and other green infrastructure. This is an especially important issue for Louisville, which lacks a strong tree canopy and leads the nation in urban heat island effect.
The process of developing the design for this park was strongly based on community feedback and interaction. The Urban Design Studio, in collaboration with the Louisville Metro Housing Authority, hosted a series of workshops and public meetings that sought to gather ideas from both the greater Louisville community and Smoketown residents. The resulting design aims at respecting the needs and wants of residents and community members, while alluding to the storied history of the site.