LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Currently, there's not a single place in West Louisville where families can find a source for nature-based recreation and education programs. But Metro Parks has a change in the works. A plan to build an outdoor learning center has been approved, but before that can be done input from the community is needed.
The future of Shawnee Park is looking bright.
"We really want to hear back from the community about what's going on and what would make the most sense," said Bennett Knox, the administrator of Jefferson Memorial Forest.
Metro Parks has narrowed things down to two options for the proposed Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center. The center will bring outdoor nature based recreation and education programming to West Louisville, something that doesn't exist at all in the area.
"We want to make sure youth in West Louisville have those same pathways open to them because they are engaged in nature from an early age," Knox said. "It's going to open a lot of career paths. The education piece I can't minimize. It is very important."
The idea is for the center to mirror the work of Jefferson Memorial Forest.
"I think that's going to be great because just from coming and just doing one thing and it made my day," Davaughn Wilson said.
Families got a taste of what the center would provide at the West Louisville Appreciation Festival in Shawnee Park on Saturday. Metro Parks provided free canoeing and fishing programming, rock climbing and archery.
"I was like so happy and for the view and everything," Maleah Wilson said. "I'm just so grateful I got to come here."
Metro Parks hopes the center will set children up for healthier lifestyle choices. No matter what site they choose, Jerry Thomas thinks their plan will work.
"It would help these kids tremendously to have something down this way," Thomas said.
The design for the center will be finalized along with a detailed cost estimate within the next six months.