Cherokee Park entrance | Courtesy Olmsted Park Conservancy
Cherokee Park entrance | Courtesy Olmsted Park Conservancy

With fewer than 20 days to go, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy is in the last leg of a nearly three-year journey to meet an $11.6 million fundraising goal for its Campaign for Extraordinary Parks.

In early November, the nonprofit announced it needed to raise $200,000 by Dec. 31 for its final phase. On Monday, the conservancy said that supporters had donated almost $60,000.

The shortfall is less than it seems, though. The conservancy needs just $40,000 of fresh donations to meet its goal, said Liz DeHart, director of marketing and communications for Olmsted Parks Conservancy. That is because the James Graham Brown Foundation has committed up to $100,000 for a dollar for dollar match, she said.

In a statement, Mimi Zinniel, president and CEO of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, said: “The community’s support for the Olmsted Parks has been very generous, but we still need more to meet the challenge put forth by James Graham Brown Foundation. Every dollar, no matter the amount, will be matched and help reach this goal.”

While Louisville’s Olmsted Parks are public green spaces, managed by Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation, private funds are needed to fill the gap where the city budget is not sufficient, according to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Since 1989, it said, donors had contributed $35 million. (To donate, visit olmstedparks.org.)

The campaign aims to improve Olmsted parks and parkways in Louisville, home to one of the largest Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park systems. During the Campaign for Extraordinary Parks, which began in March 2014, the following projects have been completed or are underway:

North Overlook restoration in Iroquois Park ($1.4 million)
Nature camps in Chickasaw Park ($30,000)
• Limestone wall restoration, new restroom building in Boone Square ($525,000)
• Restoration of the restrooms in Central Park ($165,000)
• Relocation of play equipment and restroom restoration in Tyler Park ($840,000)
• New walking path, improved lighting and basketball court, more trees and new playground and splash pad for Victory Park ($890,000)
• Organic herbicide effectiveness study ($100,000)
• Planting and maintaining trees system-wide, stonewall repairs ($200,000)
• Restoration of Bonnycastle Hill/Hogan Fountain area in Cherokee Park including a new pavilion and parking areas ($1.1 million)
• Maintain Woodlands Restoration investment and take on new projects for park health, including staff, tools, landscape materials, vehicle expenses.  ($1 million)

Crews planting trees at Iroquois Park with funds raised by Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
Crews planting trees at Iroquois Park with funds raised by Olmsted Parks Conservancy | Courtesy Olmsted Parks Conservancy
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Mickey Meece
Mickey Meece is a native of Louisville, a Kentucky Colonel and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She worked at The New York Times for 13 years in various capacities on the business and features desk, including assistant to the editor, small business editor, weekend editor and staff editor. Mickey served as executive editor of USAA Magazine, the Money magazine for military families, and was an editor for the American Banker newspaper, where she reported on the credit card industry.