Peggy Elgin, president of the Cherokee Triangle Association (in brown top at left) speaks during Monday’s ceremony marking the end of Phase 1 for the Willow Park restoration. Fundraising Chairman Henry Heuser is second from left, holding the banner.

If you like summer, picnics and music, chances are you’ve packed into the Sunday night Willow Park concerts.

For 2013, you’ll have a dance floor and other improvements to the tune of about $240,000, part of a public/private renovation effort, said Tony Lindauer, founder of the Cherokee Triangle Summer Concert Series.

(You may also know Lindauer in his day job as Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator.)

Louisville’s smallest and arguably its most popular park per square foot is getting more improvements as part of a series of upgrades.

The concrete dance floor is one of several improvement in Phase 1 of the restoration of the tiny 1.4-acre park at Willow Avenue and Cherokee Parkway.

In addition, Phase 1, which has been under way for two years, includes updated bathrooms, an extension narrowing the crosswalk on Willow at the four-way intersection with Cherokee Parkway, along with an extension on the west side for safer pedestrian access on Cherokee Parkway near Cherokee road.

Finally, Phase 1 calls for more trees in the to replace those lost to storm damage.

Phase 1 is scheduled to be complete by Memorial Day, Mon., May 27. That Monday will be the first Cherokee Triangle Summer Concert and will feature the Lost Boys rock n’roll band, Lindauer said.

Henry Vogt Machine Co./UNISTAR CEO Henry Heuser, who lives next to the park in the 1400 Willow condominiums, is chairman of the fundraising effort. Heuser also is the chairman of the Louisvlile Metro Tree Advisory Board.

The $240,000 raised includes $60,000o in private donations. Those include a contribution from Old Town Wine and Spirits/The Wine Market for the renovation of the restrooms, Lindauer said.

The company raised that money via a special liquor license for park concert sales, then donated the proceeds to the park, he said.

The Cherokee Triangle Association contributed $30,000 and 8th District Metro Councilman Tom Owen contributed $60,000 from his discretionary neighborhood fund.

Phase II, scheduled to begin this fall, calls for sidewalk replacement, new benches, lighting, trash cans, bike racks and an upgraded drainage system.

In addition to being the venue for the summer concert series, Willow Park also is incorporated into the annual Cherokee Triangle Art Fair, one of the city’s most popular pre-Derby festivals.

Along with Heuser and Lindauer, on hand for the event today were Peggie Elgin, president of the Cherokee Triangle Association, Terra Long, legislative aide for Owen, Mike Heitz, director of Metro Parks, Marty Storch, Metro Parks assistant director, and Liz DeHart, director of marketing and communications for Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

About Willow Park: Willow Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park, as well as multiple parks in Jefferson County including Cherokee Park.  While the neighboring Cherokee Park is better known, Olmsted also designed a series of “pocket parks” such as Willow Park, according to a Campaign for the Restoration of Willow Park news release.

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Terry Boyd
Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.

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