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Eastern Parkway gets better
drainage at Preston & Shelby


By Bill Pike
bpike@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal
 


Standing along a curb recently installed
on Eastern Parkway were Mike Zanone,
vice president of the St. Joseph Area
Association; member Ruth Gerlach, center;
and President Gail Linville.
 


Standing along a curb recently installed on Eastern Parkway were Mike Zanone, vice president of the St. Joseph Area Association; member Ruth Gerlach, center; and President Gail Linville.


Grass has also been planted between the sidewalks
 and Eastern Parkway. (Photos by David Harpe, Special to The Courier-Journal)

The old curbs like this one were too shallow to allow rain to run off properly -- and they were crumbling and ugly.

An effort begun four years ago by St. Joseph to get new curbs along Eastern Parkway has finally paid off.

New curbs have been installed near Preston and Shelby streets.

"We had to talk to all sorts of agencies to get it done," said Gail Linville, president of the St. Joseph Area Association. "It took awhile to get going."

Residents said the old curbs were crumbling and too shallow for good drainage.

Helping with the project was Metro Council President Jim King, whose District 10 includes the area. Neighbors got his attention by asking one simple question: "Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road look nice. Why not Eastern Parkway and Preston?" said Ruth Gerlach, a longtime association activist.

"That got his attention real quick," Linville said. King agreed.

Linville, Gerlach and Mike Zanone, the St. Joseph association's vice president, led the residents' effort, and King coordinated the agencies: Louisville Metro Works and Parks departments, the Transit Authority of River City, the Olmsted Conservancy and the Metropolitan Sewer District.

New box curbs have replaced crumbling shallow curbs along Eastern Parkway from about 100 feet west of Preston to the entrances to the Walgreens drugstore and Shoney's restaurant east of Shelby Sidewalks also were improved.

The project cost $160,000, including landscaping, bus shelters and benches that will be installed. King and TARC provided $65,000 each, and MSD $30,000.

King said the new curbs could set a standard for improvements along all of Eastern Parkway.

With the old curbs, rain water often pooled along Eastern Parkway, especially in front of the White Castle and Radio Shack, Linville said. Now water drains quickly. "The new curbs look a lot better too," she said.

King said the improved sidewalks will be especially helpful to residents of Lourdes Hall, a retirement home on Eastern Parkway near Preston.

The project wasn't part of beautification efforts along Preston between the Watterson Expressway and Eastern Parkway. But the two projects eventually could join. Preston corridor improvements between Hess Lane and Eastern Parkway could begin in a year and further help the appearance of the Eastern Parkway-Preston Street corner.

That sounds good to Gerlach, a neighborhood resident for 80 years who worked as a teenager in a Walgreens that used to be on the corner.

"This corner and this part of town have been neglected," she said. "This corner used to be very nice. I hope it can be nice again."

Reporter Bill Pike can be reached at (502) 582-4243