95 Acres Purchased for Louisville Fitness/Community Center

Louisville, KY, 12/19/2007: A planned community center designed especially for citizens with disabilities took a major step forward, as Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the purchase of a 95-acre property where the facility will be located. The purchase was negotiated by The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit land conservation organization that has partnered with Metro Louisville on several projects over the last few years.

“This is yet another example of Mayor Abramson’s commitment to providing parks and recreation areas for all Louisville residents,” said Lynda Frost, project manger for The Trust for Public Land. “We are proud to be a partner in this project.”

The site will be home to MVP Sports Zone, a new fitness and community center that will be open to everyone but is specifically designed for disabled children and adults. The facilities will include a six-hole golf course, a large swimming pool, two basketball courts, four bowling lanes, and an arts and dancing studio.

Mayor Abramson unveiled the architectural plans for the $18 million complex, a public-private partnership, which will be constructed at 10903 Brentlinger Lane, near Bardstown Road, off the Gene Snyder Freeway.

“Every inch of the MVP Zone was designed to be accessible. People will be able to roll their wheelchairs directly into the pool, and the golf course will be reinforced for wheelchair use,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “This project will be a model for cities nationwide.”

The project is a partnership between Louisville Metro Government and the Integrity Foundation, created in 2005 by Philip and Denise Clements and their three sons. The Clements family recently moved to Louisville from Elizabethtown and own Integrity Rehab Group, a physical rehabilitation company. The family has pledged to raise up to $15 million to build the facility.

“We are excited to see MVP Zone move another step closer to becoming a reality,” Seth Clements said. “With the support of the Mayor, Metro Parks, and a long list of friends and partners, the MVP Zone will soon be a place that will break down barriers for the disabled and able-bodied alike.”

With the help of The Trust for Public Land, Louisville Metro Government last week purchased the 95-acre farm from the estate of Mae Mahoney, whose family called the property Twin Meadows. About 22 acres will be used for the MVP Zone, with the rest remaining as open space and woodland.

Metro Parks paid $3.2 million for the property. Mayor Jerry Abramson provided $1 million from the city’s capital budget and David and Betty Jones donated $2.2 million.

The MVP Zone will be a 90,000-square-foot facility that includes significant indoor features from a physical-therapy pool to a multi-purpose sports surface. Outside the facility, plans call for a six-hole golf course, a playground and an artificial turf softball field. The center is expected to host regional and national sporting events for athletes with disabilities.

“This beautiful property will enable Louisville Metro Parks to provide much-needed recreational facilities in a rapidly growing section of Louisville,” David Jones said. “We are pleased to be able to help.”

The community center will be managed by the non-profit Integrity Foundation. Metro Parks will move its Adapted Leisure Activities, a program that provides recreational activities for people of all ages with mental or physical disabilities, to the MVP Zone. The program’s current home at Douglass Community Center offers limited space for people with disabilities.

The MVP Zone is part of the ambitious City of Parks project to build new parkland in Louisville’s rapidly-developing suburbs. City of Parks also includes construction of a 100-mile hiking and biking trail encircling the city called Louisville Loop.