Proposed park accommodations for food trucks spark discussion

Proposed park accommodations for food trucks spark discussion
Louisville food truck operators could see improved access for this year's Shakespeare In The Park productions at Central Park in Old Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A historic Louisville park may be getting a few additions that could help some local business owners.

Central Park in Old Louisville is home to Shakespeare in the Park, the longest-running free Shakespeare festival in the U.S.

But the park's configuration is making it tough on some vendors. Organizers and some city leaders want to build a concrete ramp connector near the back of the park.

As the plays of Shakespeare come alive each summer, food trucks look effortlessly placed in the green space, but those who drive them said it can be a comedy of errors to get them there.

"Sometimes, it'll take me 30 minutes to maneuver this big rig around in the park to get situated where I need to be situated to serve," Michele Metcalf, the operator of Lexie Lu's food truck, said.

So, Kentucky Shakespeare, the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and others are working together to make things a little easier for food truck owners.

"We need that income in the park to continue to keep it free," Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director at Kentucky Shakespeare, said.

Wallace added that funds from food truck donations help fund the events put on by the organization. Organizers and some city leaders have proposed building a ramp in the back of the park, over concrete stones, to allow trucks to get in easier.

OLNC Chair Deborah Stewart said some in the neighborhood are concerned the paved connector would damage the environment, adding that some have voiced objection to having trucks on park grounds at all.

"This isn't going to be an invitation for everyone to drive in the park," Wallace said. "This is a very special circumstance and it would be locked."

Metcalf, who said she was one of the first to attend Shakespeare in the Park as a food truck vendor, is happy to hear about the proposal.

"I'm very excited," Metcalf said. "That's awesome."

A member of the Central Park West Neighborhood Association said he fully supports improvements, but would be upset if new construction threatens conservation efforts.

"It's important to have these conversations with all of the parties involved to make sure it works for everyone in a way that's taking care of our park," Wallace said.

Members of the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council Property Improvement Committee were planning to meet Monday night to discuss the proposal.

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